Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory

Smith Laboratory

Ongoing Research Projects

1. Bioactive Injectable Therapeutics for Intervertebral Disc Degeneration

Degeneration of the lumbar spine intervertebral discs is widespread and strongly implicated as a cause of low back pain amongst the adult population. Current treatment options for symptomatic disc degeneration are limited, and focused on alleviating pain without preserving biomechanical function of the intervertebral joint. The goals of our research are to develop synergistic, minimally invasive therapeutics that incorporate a structural implant to normalize mechanics, anti-inflammatory agents to prevent further degeneration, and stem cells to potentiate tissue regeneration. This work spans from in vitro laboratory studies, through to preclinical large animal studies.

GoatGoat 2

2. Pathogenesis and Treatment of Spine Disease in Mucopolysaccharidosis Disorders

The mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are genetic, lysosomal storage disorders that affect children, and which are characterized by deficient activity of enzymes that degrade glycosaminoglycans. Musculoskeletal disease manifestations are severe, and in the spine include vertebral dysplasia, odontoid hypoplasia, accelerated disc degeneration and kyphoscoliotic deformity, leading to spinal cord compression and airway obstruction. The goals of our research are to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying spine disease in MPS, and develop new therapeutic strategies. This work spans from in vitro laboratory studies, to preclinical animal studies, through to human clinical studies.

Healthy Spine   MPS VII Spine