Fourth-year Neurological Surgery resident Brenton Pennicooke has won this year’s award for Best Oral Presentation at the 2016 World Forum for Spine Research in Dubai. Dr. Pennicooke’s paper, “Annular Repair Using High-density Collagen Gel with Riboflavin Crosslinkage: Preliminary results in an in vivo ovine model” is based on research conducted in collaboration between the laboratories of Dr. Roger Härtl, Chief of Spine Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and Dr. Lawrence Bonassar, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca. Other co-authors on this paper include Stephen Sloan and Brandon Borde, both PhD students in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. Bonassar’s Laboratory.
Dr. Pennicooke’s paper describes the use of injectable collagen gels that can be photocrosslinked in situ to repair intervertebral disc herniations. An estimated 10 million people in the United States suffer from herniated discs, and ongoing research in this collaborative project is directed at finding new ways to treat them. The primary surgical treatment today is removal of the herniated material with no attempt to repair the ruptured disc. Previous work by the Bonassar and Härtl laboratories has shown that photocrosslinked collagen gels can repair ruptured discs in rodents. The current work demonstrates the utility of this approach in larger animals, with the goal of translating this into the treatment of human disc disease.
This line of research has produced multiple awards in the past, including: