June 12, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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A durable mini cartilage prosthesis is coming

A durable mini cartilage prosthesis is coming

Effective treatment of localized cartilage defects of the knee for middle-aged patients is approaching. Medical breakdownlocated at the Brightlands Health Campus Maastricht, is on the eve of a decisive step with its self-developed SyCap, a small plastic prosthesis for the treatment of a cartilage defect in the knee.

Bendert Frissima

CEO Bindert Vriesema said earlier this year during the Brightlands TEFAF seminar that he is full of confidence. But at the same time, he tempers his short-term expectations. “We are handling it carefully and expect to be able to start small-scale clinical studies within two to three years. Before we can treat large groups of patients, we still have another five or six years to go, because we first have to conduct large-scale clinical studies.” Before market approval.

Market acceptance takes time

“Market acceptance seems simple, but this is what we have been working towards with our team since our founding in 2021,” says Frissima. “We are now finalizing the final composition of the material, the production process and the design. We are also improving the design using advanced computer models, developing a Surgical instruments and service life testing are extensively performed in mechanical testing settings and due to the stringent laws and regulations that apply to medical devices, we will also perform final testing on animals before we can begin clinical studies.

TU Eindhoven, Maastricht UMC+, DSM and InSciTe

Peter Emans

The SyCap project was launched in 2015, a collaboration between Maastricht UMC+, Eindhoven University of Technology, DSM and the Chemelot InSciTe research institute. “We were looking for a tailored solution for middle-aged patients, as current treatments for this group do not provide the desired longevity. We are increasingly seeing that patients are ready to have a knee prosthesis fitted,” explains Dr. Peter Emans, co-founder and chief medical officer of Avalanche Medical and an orthopedic surgeon at MUMC+. “Very early, and we want to do something about it.” “By repairing damaged cartilage at an early stage with a small prosthesis, we prevent further wear and tear of the joint. Think about filling the hole in the road with new asphalt, before the hole gets bigger and bigger.”

Based on promising pre-clinical studies and widespread belief in the product from various hospitals, Avalanche Medical was established as a start-up in 2021 and the team has established itself at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. In 2024, the goal of treating the first patients is approaching.

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Sustainable solution

“The SyCap implant is better than the small metal prostheses that currently exist,” Frissima says. “Our mini-prosthesis is made of polycarbonate urethane, an advanced plastic developed by DSM. This type of plastic has the same elasticity as natural cartilage and is therefore better suited to adjacent healthy tissue inside the knee. This way we believe we can prevent further wear and save Longer lifespan In addition, an MRI of the knee can always be performed.

SyCap can also be used on other parts of the body such as shoulder, ankle and hand joints; Basically anywhere the cartilage is damaged. Naturally, the implant design must be considered separately for each part of the body, but the concept remains the same.

Commercial market

The road to commercial market is still long, as the CEO knows. “Technically, I think SyCap could be used by surgeons in a number of years. But only first through clinical studies, and then depending on the clinical results, market approval will follow. Until then, we obviously don’t have a lot of turnover and costs.” In the early years we were able to achieve this through various subsidies and loans, and now we are looking for seed capital from investors and business angels. We are also receiving a lot of help from the Brightlands network in this matter, taking into account the inputs we are confident of “Our invention will help a lot of people.”