Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: FDA Approves Use of Genetically Engineered Protein to Treat Low Back Pain

  1. #1

    FDA Approves Use of Genetically Engineered Protein to Treat Low Back Pain

    FDA Approves Use of Genetically Engineered Protein to Treat Low Back Pain

    MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BW HealthWire)--July 2, 2002--

    Biologic protein creates bone growth where needed -- eliminates

    second surgery required in traditional spine fusion procedures

    With the exception of colds and flu, backaches send more people to the doctor than any other ailment. The problem is so serious that in 2002, more than 190,000 Americans are expected to undergo lumbar spinal fusion surgeries to ease their debilitating back pain and get them back on their feet. For these patients with the most crippling pain, good news arrived today when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Medtronic Sofamor Danek's INFUSE(TM) Bone Graft/LT-CAGE(TM) Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device.

    INFUSE Bone Graft contains recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2), the genetically engineered version of a naturally occurring protein that is capable of initiating bone growth, or bone regeneration, in specific, targeted areas in the spine. Approved for use with the LT-CAGE Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device, INFUSE Bone Graft is indicated to treat certain types of spinal degenerative disc disease, a common cause of low back pain. Using INFUSE Bone Graft with the LT-CAGE device in spine surgery reduces the pain and complications associated with treating degenerative disc disease by eliminating the second surgery required to harvest bone from a patient's hip, as is done in traditional spinal fusion procedures.

    Degenerative disc disease is a disorder of the spine that can be extremely painful and debilitating in patients who generally lead active lives. The disease occurs when discs in the spine are damaged. Pain emanates from the damaged discs themselves or is caused by the discs or bone impinging on nearby nerve roots or the spinal cord. By the age of 50, approximately 85 percent of the population will show evidence of disc degeneration.

    Spinal fusion surgery is often the only effective method to treat degenerative disc disease. Spinal fusions essentially "weld" two or more vertebrae together to eliminate the pain caused by a damaged disc in the spine. To fuse the vertebrae together, surgeons traditionally insert pieces of the patient's own bone between the vertebrae to prompt the body to grow new bone. But implanting the bone chips actually requires two surgeries -- one to chip off small pieces of bone from around the patient's hip (autograft) and another to insert them in the spine. Studies have shown that the bone harvesting procedure can be more painful than the fusion itself, and nearly a third of patients experience some hip pain two years following surgery.

    INFUSE Bone Graft eliminates the painful harvesting surgery because it contains rhBMP-2, which induces the body to grow its own bone where it is needed. Discovered and developed by Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), rhBMP-2 is manufactured in its Andover, Mass., biopharmaceutical facility.

    To use INFUSE Bone Graft, surgeons reconstitute the rhBMP-2 powder with supplied sterile water and then apply it to collagen sponges. The sponges are inserted inside each of two LT-CAGE Lumbar Tapered Fusion Devices, which are then implanted between the vertebrae. The thimble-like cages stabilize the spine while it is fusing and also maintain the proper height between the vertebrae. The tapered design of the cage is intended to help restore the natural curvature (lordosis) between vertebrae in the spine, as compared to traditional cylindrical cages.

    "The FDA approval of INFUSE Bone Graft represents a new approach to the treatment of low back pain and is a major advance in traditional spine surgery," said Kenneth Burkus, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who participated in numerous clinical trials and has the most clinical experience in the world with the product. "The combination of a biological product with a medical device, intended to effectively fuse vertebrae in the spine, is a significant step for orthopedic and neurosurgical procedures for both physicians and patients. Spine surgeries with INFUSE Bone Graft and the LT-CAGE device will be quicker, less expensive and, more importantly, less painful for the patient."

    Compelling Data Leads to Approval

    Marketing clearance for the INFUSE Bone Graft/LT-CAGE device is based on compelling data from a large-scale, multi-center, prospective, randomized, two-year study involving 279 degenerative disc disease patients implanted with the LT-CAGE Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device. The study assessed the safety, efficacy and therapeutic benefits of INFUSE Bone Graft as compared to traditional autograft procedures. Approximately half of the patients in the study received autograft bone, and the other half received INFUSE Bone Graft.

    The data showed that the study met all of its primary endpoints. Although statistically equivalent, study results indicated that patients who underwent spine surgery using INFUSE Bone Graft showed a trend toward having higher fusion rates as compared to autograft patients at 24 months (94.5 percent fused versus 88.7 percent). Patients implanted with INFUSE Bone Graft also spent less time in the operating room and lost less blood during surgery than the autograft patients. Although both INFUSE Bone Graft and autograft patients received similar levels of low back pain relief, the INFUSE Bone Graft patients did not experience hip donor site pain, because they did not require the second procedure to harvest bone graft from the hip.

    "Bone morphogenetic proteins have been studied for use in bone regeneration for more than 30 years," said Scott Boden, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon from The Emory Spine Center at the Emory University School of Medicine, who has published extensively on rhBMP-2. "After following the progress of the INFUSE product, and seeing its efficacy in numerous clinical trials over the years, it's exciting to see the product FDA-approved and available to surgeons. This product has the potential to redefine the way spine surgery is performed."

    The elimination of the graft harvesting procedure empowers surgeons with a more patient-friendly therapy, and physicians are no longer forced to cause pain in one part of the body to cure it in another. Other advantages include:

    -- INFUSE Bone Graft patients should spend less time in the

    operating room.

    -- Surgeons should require fewer instruments for INFUSE Bone

    Graft procedures.

    -- Patients should experience fewer complications from the graft

    harvest site, which may result in fewer follow-up hospital


    One Patient's Experience (Results May Vary)

    When Teresa Hoffman, 38, first began experiencing a radiating pain in her lower back and down her legs, she quickly dismissed it. But when the pain wouldn't go away, she decided to visit a chiropractor. The treatments seemed to work for a while but soon the pain was back, and worse than before. In fact, the pain had become so severe it was interfering with her daily activities and her full-time job as a financial assistant. "I felt disconnected at the waist," said the mother of three teens. "I couldn't stand for more than five minutes -- the pain felt like a knife in my tailbone." Taking her children to amusement parks or even watching them play baseball and football on their school teams became impossible because she could no longer stand or even sit for extended periods.

    Eventually Teresa was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed her with a ruptured disc due to degenerative disc disease. Teresa had already suspected the cause of her excruciating pain because her mother and two sisters suffered with degenerative disc disease. She was also quite familiar with the standard therapies, including traditional spinal fusion surgery, as her older sister had undergone the surgery about a year earlier. "I was scared," said Teresa. "I was helping my older sister after the operation and her recovery was horrible. In fact, two years later, she still suffers with hip pain from the bone harvest."

    Anxious to avoid new pain to treat her existing pain, Teresa learned about the clinical trial of INFUSE Bone Graft and decided to try the then investigational treatment. "It was amazing," said Teresa, who was able to get out of bed and walk around her hospital room shortly after the procedure. "It was a 1,000-percent improvement."

    Now she's back to her busy life, working full-time again and raising her three teenagers with her husband. She's even swimming and playing racquetball, things she couldn't do before. And if Teresa needed further proof that she made the right decision about her surgery, she need only look at her younger sister, who recently underwent the traditional autograft procedure. "INFUSE Bone Graft was not approved at the time," Teresa says. "So my younger sister had to undergo the surgery on her hip and not surprisingly, her hip is now causing her excruciating pain. Needless to say, I feel very fortunate to have received the INFUSE Bone Graft."

    For more information about INFUSE Bone Graft/LT-CAGE Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device, please visit
    Medtronic, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, is the world's leading medical technology company, providing lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, headquartered in Memphis, develops and manufactures products that treat a variety of disorders of the cranium and spine, including traumatically induced conditions, degenerative conditions, deformities and tumors. More company information can be found at:, and
    Any statements made about the company's anticipated financial results and regulatory approvals are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 27, 2001. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.


    Medtronic, Inc., Minneapolis

    Investor Relations:

    Rachael Scherer, 763/505-2694


    Public Relations:

    Robert Hanvik, 763/505-2635

    SOURCE: Medtronic, Inc.

    [This message was edited by seneca on Jul 02, 2002 at 08:12 PM.]

  2. #2
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Spinal Fusion Surgery Uses Bone Protein

    Spinal Fusion Surgery Uses Bone Protein
    Tue Jul 2,11:49 PM ET

    TUESDAY, July 2 (HealthScoutNews) -- A genetically engineered protein that causes the body to grow bone may be the key to reducing a painful second stage in spinal fusion surgery.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( news - web sites) has given the go-ahead to a surgical procedure called Infuse Bone Graft, develped by Medtronic Sofamor Danek. Part of the surgery involves placing the protein -- saturated in a special sponge -- into two thimble-sized devices that are implanted between the affected vertebrae.

    The protein then spurs bone cells to grow through the collagen in the sponge, and this new bone fuses the vertebrae.

    The protein-implanting procedure isn't new. But the way that the protein was originally harvested was through painful hip surgery, and the pain from that procedure often outweighed the benefits of the fusion sugery.

    The new procedure uses bone protein that's been isolated in a laboratory and reproduced through DNA technology.

    Almost 200,000 spinal fusion surgeries are performed in the United States each year, and they are sometimes the only way to effectively treat degenerative disc disease.

    Here is an article from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, explaining the pros and cons of spinal fusion surgery.

  3. #3

    confusion on fusion?

    DR Young
    I found this from Seneca's research some Info on these cages they call them cages also.
    The INFUSEâ„¢ Bone Graft/LT-CAGEâ„¢ Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device is indicated for spinal fusion procedures in skeletally mature patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD) at one level from L4-S1, who may also have up to Grade I spondylolisthesis at the involved level. The INFUSEâ„¢ Bone Graft/ LT-CAGEâ„¢ Lumbar Tapered Fusion Device is to be implanted via an anterior open or an anterior laparoscopic approach
    I don't understand something and I have been reading for 5 days night and day so i got get some clarification on something
    this says fusion at one level I have fusion at L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 I have 3 consecutive cages do you think someone did not read the directions on the package????
    do you think if they removed 2 if three are two, to many if they took 2 out would i be OK? do you think this could be a fix or do I read this wrong?

    have you ever heard of this ? and what is
    grade I or 1 spondylolisthesis at the involved level ?(*^%
    I'm to dumb to be this sick
    these were approve July 2002? NO I have read something wrong ?

    >They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate
    >them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts