Dr. Brenton Pennicooke, a 4th year resident is Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical, won the award for Best Oral Presentation at the World Forum for Spine Research in Dubai, UAE. Dr. Pennicooke’s paper, titled “Annular Repair Using High-density Collagen Gel with Riboflavin Crosslinkage: Prelimnary Results in an in vivo Ovine Model” is part of a long standing collaboration between the laboratories of Dr. Roger Härtl, Chief of Spine Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical, and Dr. Lawrence Bonassar, Professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering and the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Other co-authors on this paper including Stephen Sloan and Brandon Borde, both PhD students in Biomedical Engineering in the Bonassar Lab.
The paper describes the use of injectable collagen gels that can be photocrosslinked in situ to repair intervertebral disc herniations. An estimated 10 million people in the US have disc herniations, with the primary surgical treatment being removal of the herniated material with no attempt to repair the ruptured disc. Previous work by the Bonassar and Härtl laboratories has shown that photocrosslinked collagen gels can repair ruptured discs in rodents. The current work demonstrates the utility of this approach in larger animals, with the goal of translating this into the treatment of human disc disease.