Bioengineered ACL Developed by UConn Physician-Scientist Wins U.S. Patent

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin says the technology may be a new solution for torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

This screen grab from a simulation on Soft Tissue Regeneration’s website shows its L-C Ligament in a human knee.

A bioengineered matrix for treatment of torn anterior cruciate ligaments invented by a UConn Health Center physician-scientist is now patented in the United States.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, founding director of the UConn Health Center’s Institute for Regenerative Engineering, and University Professor at UConn is the inventor of the L-C Ligament, the first bioengineered matrix shown to completely regenerate ligament tissue inside the knee.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, inventor of the L-C Ligament.

“Our large animal studies were completed over the last two years.  The technology may be a new solution for perhaps hundreds of thousands of individuals with ACL tears,” Laurencin says. “It also shows the promise that regenerative engineering can offer.”

A Phase 1 clinical trial is underway in Europe where the first patient was implanted with the L-C Ligament on June 18 by a surgical team in the Netherlands led by Dr. Kees van Egmond, a Dutch orthopaedic surgeon. In attendance at the surgery were  Dr. Robert Arciero, the UConn Health Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery chief of sports medicine and president-elect of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), and Dr. Robert Stanton, an AOSSM past president.

“A biologic device that can regenerate a torn ACL would have tremendous impact for the 200,000 ACL tears that occur annually in the U.S.,” says Arciero. “If the human trials prove efficacious this would totally change the way surgeons manage this injury.”

Laurencin says after a successful European trial, a larger clinical trial in the United States would take place within the next two years.

The L-C Ligament is named for Laurencin and Dr. James Cooper, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who was one of Laurencin’s Ph.D. students and mentees at Drexel University. The patent was awarded to Soft Tissue Regeneration Inc. of New Haven, an early-stage orthopaedic device company co-founded by Laurencin in 2008. It has received funding from Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public authority that seeks to boost Connecticut’s economy by providing financing and strategic assistance to startup and established companies, including university spin-off companies that market faculty-produced research and create jobs in the process.

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