Stem Cell Summit Re-Cap

By: Ben Craigs

This past week, OrthoSpineNews attended Robin Young’s 5th annual Stem Cell Summit in New York City.  We see this emerging market as the next frontier for orthopedic and spine innovation and product platforms. The idea of using the patient’s own body to harvest healthy stem cells to treat orthopedic diseases could not only be the pinnacle of personalized medicine, but transform the entire musculoskeletal landscape.  What made this year’s meeting unique was the sentiment among KOLs and executives that the time for stem cell technologies to commercialize is eminent.

True to form, Robin Young offered a market forecast that looks through the next decade and predicts with reasonable optimism market potential for stem cell technologies in orthopedics.  Here is a summary of what he had to say:

There is an 8 BILLION stem cell market share forecast for 2020

An estimated 35-40% percent of that market will have direct orthopedic applications

Over the past 5 years, ~ 60,000 patients have been treated with either allograft or autologous stem cells in the United States

Not one single patient has reported an adverse reaction to FDA, not one!

RY estimates 1 in 10 surgeons have tried or are intending to try to incorporate some form of therapeutic stem cells in their practice.

In 2009, allograft stem cell products were used in ~ 24,600 cases in the clinical setting. In 2010 it is estimated that number will increase to ~ 34,000.

–       By 2013, it is estimated the number of cases using mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) will exceed those using BMP – the original allograft therapeutic.

Though this is only a forecast, there is no denying this emerging technology trend. When the Infuse brand BMP came under fire by hospitals for off-label use, allograft stem cell products were often selected as alternatives. Currently NuVasive, Orthofix and NuTech all have allograft products on the market that use the less powerful progenitor cells of the donor. These are essentially the pioneering products that are precursors to other (MSC) forms of stem cells that have the potential to do anything from repairing articular cartilage to rehydrating the spine nucleus.  Many companies have been in clinical trials for a decade or longer working out these issues and are edging closer to changing the game of orthopedic care.

Forecasts and predictions aside, we are curious about what YOU think.  Do you agree with these forecasts?  How long until these technologies are commercially available? What will be the regulatory issues?  What about reimbursement and cost of care issues?  Is it too soon to get excited or is this technology closer than the next one-term president?  Talk amongst yourselves!


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Spine Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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