Yufeng Dong, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, has received a $1,633,905 R01 grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the NIH for his five-year project studying the treatment of bone loss and bone injuries with modified tissue stem cells.
“The goal of this NIH-supported five-year study is to use Notch signaling proteins to modify patient bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and transplant these cells back to the same patient for rapid large bone defect repair, which in turn will help patients heal more quickly after experiencing bone loss,” explained Dr. Dong.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of stem cells found in bone marrow that have been shown to be capable of making other cells, like bone, cartilage and fat cells. Dr. Dong’s project will first purify stem cells from patient bone marrow, and then make them quickly become vessel-forming and bone-forming cells after transplantation.
At the completion of this study, Dr. Dong and his team will likely be able to accomplish the following:
- Identify an optimized stem cell population for enhanced vascularization in bone tissue regeneration.
- Develop a novel therapeutic approach that would be immediately applicable for patients with massive bone loss, including bone loss secondary to trauma, infectious or oncologic etiologies, bone loss around an artificial joint in adult bone reconstruction, and serve as an adjuvant in the treatment of pediatric skeletal deformities ;and repairs.
Dr. Dong is the Principle Investigator of the project. The Co-Investigators include: Chris Kevil, PhD, Professor and expert in angiogenesis in the Department of Pathology; Shane Barton, MD, Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and Thomas Norris MD Endowed Professor; and Hicham Drissi, PhD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Cell Biology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Dr. Dong’s project is titled, “Notch-enriched Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for Bone Allograft Repair.” This is his first NIH R01 grant.