MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Smith & Nephew ( SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedics Division is pleased to announce the signing of a technology development contract with the United States Department of Defense that may lead to the creation of a fracture fixation system intended to revolutionize the treatment of the limbs of soldiers who sustain battlefield injuries.
Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development agency for the U.S. Department of Defense, accepted proposals to create and develop "fracture putty," a dynamic new material that would markedly enhance the healing of soldiers who suffer traumatic wounds in the field of battle. These wounds often lead to secondary fractures and infections, multiple surgeries, long rehabilitation times and, in some cases, amputation.
In particular, injuries sustained from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are difficult to treat due to the usually significant loss of bone and soft tissue. The fracture putty system is intended to provide substantial support of the injured limb early in the body's natural healing process so the soldier can more quickly participate in physical therapy and thus reduce the risk of further complications. The putty will then resorb - meaning it will dissolve over time, leaving natural healthy bone in its place. Today's standard treatment methods include permanent metal support devices such as plates, rods and bone screws.
Smith & Nephew is the only medical device company chosen to work on this futuristic material. Beyond this initial project, the company may expand the application of the technology to the treatment of other kinds of bone fractures in both military and civilian trauma care.
"Fracture putty represents the ultimate convergence of orthopaedic material science and mechanics, and has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are treated," said DARPA's program manager, Mitchell Zakin, PhD. "If all technical challenges are met, we believe this innovative technology will provide superior clinical outcomes for patients."
"This announcement represents the spirit of innovation that drives Smith & Nephew scientists and engineers," said David Brumfield, vice president of product development in Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics' Trauma franchise. "We will use the full extent of our expertise, ground-breaking material technology and quality manufacturing to create the best possible treatment for those who have been injured while serving our country."
Smith & Nephew's history of orthopaedic trauma innovation includes the introduction of the compression hip screw and intramedullary hip fracture fixation. Additionally, Smith & Nephew was responsible for introducing the ILIZAROV(TM) method of external circular fixation to the United States, which is manifested today in its award winning TAYLOR SPATIAL FRAME(TM) device, a technology currently used to treat complex fractures sustained by US military personal.
Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business, specialising in Orthopaedics, including Reconstruction, Trauma and Clinical Therapies; Endoscopy and Advanced Wound Management. Smith & Nephew is a global leader in arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global orthopaedics companies.
Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives. The Company prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high standards of performance, innovation and trust. The Company operates in 32 countries around the world. Annual sales in 2008 were $3.8 billion.
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions.
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SOURCE Smith & Nephew
|SOURCE Smith & Nephew|
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