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Spine Feature

Courtesy of The Anand Spine Group

Anand Spine Group Tests Biologic Disc Therapy

Biloine W. Young • Fri, July 12th, 2013

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Will the injection of young cartilage cells into the lower back regenerate pain generating spinal discs? To find out, the Anand Spine Group of Los Angeles will participate in a Phase II clinical trial studying the efficacy and safety of ISTO’s NuQu cell-based therapy. The Anand Spine Group, lead by orthopedic spine surgeon and medical director Neel Anand, M.D., is one of a group of spine centers throughout the United States that are taking part in the study. NuQu is comprised of young cartilage cells that the physician delivers through a needle during a short, one-time procedure. Study participants may go home about one hour after receiving the injection.

“We are very excited to be selected as investigators in the NuQu study because it offers a unique opportunity for volunteers who meet the study’s criteria to potentially participate in research for low back pain and disability caused by spinal disc disease, ” said Anand.

ISTO estimates that each year there are approximately 500, 000 patients in the U.S. who suffer with discogenic back pain who do not respond to standard-of-care treatment. There are currently no FDA approved disc nucleus regeneration or repair products on the market, according to ISTO officials.

Researchers estimate that, on average, 297 million restricted work days and 87 million disability days are lost each year due to back pain, the leading source of which is intervertebral disc disease or degeneration. In a study released in 2004 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Duke University Medical Center researchers found that patients in the U.S. suffering from back pain consume more than $90 billion annually in health care expenses, with approximately $26 billion of that amount directly attributable to the treatment of back pain.

“There are countless numbers of people suffering from debilitating low back pain caused by degenerated discs that must either manage the pain through physical therapy and injections or undergo surgery, ” said Anand. “We hope that this study will provide us the scientific data needed to support the continued use of this investigational technology.”

Study participants must have had low back pain for at least six months and have never had previous surgery on their lower back. ISTO does not recommend NuQu for smokers or women who are pregnant or currently breastfeeding. Patients can learn more about the NuQu study at The Anand Spine Group by contacting Anand’s clinical coordinator Cece Bruce at (310) 423-9209.

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