NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Kappa Delta Sorority and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) presented four research awards to scientists who are helping to close the gap between basic research and clinical medicine. Honored at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), award winners have been working towards new treatment for the following areas of musculoskeletal health:
- acute spinal cord injury
- growth plate dynamics
Acute Spinal Cord Injury
The 2010 Young Investigator Award, given to outstanding authors who are under 40 years of age or no more than seven years beyond training, was presented to University of British Columbia researcher Brian A. Kwon, MD, Ph.D., FRCSC, for his paper, “Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure Monitoring and Biochemical Analysis in Acute Spinal Cord Injury – A Translational Approach.” Dr. Kwon began this study in hopes of contributing to improvements in the lives of patients who suffer from acute traumatic spinal cord injuries. According to his paper, this research has established for the first time a system for classifying spinal cord injury severity and predicting the neurological outcome.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Louis J. Soslowsky, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, won the 2010 Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughan Award for the study “Understanding the Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Repair Response of Rotator Cuff Injuries: A Series of Interconnected Studies Developing and Using an Animal Model.”
Dr. Soslowsky developed this animal model to study rotator cuff injuries, the primary cause of shoulder pain in adults, so that he could initiate changes believed to be important in the disease process in a controlled manner and to quantitatively evaluate the effect of these conditions.
According to his paper, “this model has clinical parallels that can be used to augment or enhance the natural healing process in the failed repair condition of rotator cuff injuries.”
Growth Plate Dynamics
The third Kappa Delta Award, named in honor of Elizabeth Winston Lanier, went to Cornelia E. Farnum, DVM, Ph.D., of Cornell University, and co-author Norman J. Wilsman, DVM, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for the paper “Analyzing the Growth Plate in Four Dimensions – A Thirty-year Perspective on Growth Plate Dynamics.”
Dr. Farnum’s research focused on analyzing cellular activity within growth plates and how this activity leads to bone elongation. This research can have specific clinical implications, particularly for pediatrics.
“During our analysis of how growth plates function, we used a variety of models that have direct parallels to bone elongation problems in young children, such as growth hormone deficiencies and nutritional deficiencies,” said Dr. Farnum. “Our research goes a long way in increasing the understanding of the biology behind what is going on with those diseases.”
Shin Bone Fractures
Determining the most effective means of managing both open tibial fractures (where the shin bone has broken through the skin) and closed tibial fractures was the goal of the 2010 OREF Clinical Research Award recipient Mohit Bhandari, MD, of McMaster University, and co-authors Gordon Guyatt, MD; Stephen Walter, Ph.D.; Emil Schemitsch, MD; Dave Sanders, MD; Marc Swiontkowski, MD; and Paul Tornetta III, MD.
The study, “Setting a New Benchmark for Collaborative Trials in Trauma: The Rationale, Design, and Execution of the Study to Prospectively Evaluate Intramedullary Nails in Tibial Shaft Fractures (S.P.R.I.N.T.),” eventually involved more than 200 orthopaedic surgeons from three countries and was conducted at 29 clinical sites.
“We have spent the last decade studying the optimal surgical approaches to the management of these fractures,” said Dr. Bhandari. “It has culminated in the largest multinational orthopaedic trauma trial in the history of our field.”
The researchers concluded that the study demonstrates a possible benefit for reamed intramedullary nailing (the process of cutting into the bone canal to insert a rod that will align and stabilize a fracture) in patients with closed tibial fractures. However, they found no difference between reamed and unreamed nailing in patients with open fractures. Additionally, the researchers found that delaying reoperation for at least six months for fractures that have not healed may substantially decrease the need for reoperation.
“SPRINT proves that multinational trials can work,” said Dr. Bhandari. “It set new benchmarks for trial infrastructure, quality assurance and outcomes assessment that have changed the paradigm for clinical trial design in orthopaedic surgery.”
In 1947, at its Golden Anniversary, the Kappa Delta Sorority announced the establishment of the Kappa Delta Research Fellowship in Orthopaedics, the first award ever created to honor achievements in the field of orthopaedic research. The first annual award, a single stipend of $1,000, was made available to the Academy in 1949 and presented at the AAOS meeting in 1950. The Kappa Delta Awards have been presented by the Academy to persons who have performed research in orthopaedic surgery that is of high significance and impact.
The sorority has since added two more awards and increased the dollar amount. At present, three annual awards of $20,000 each are given. Two awards are named for the sorority national past presidents who were instrumental in the creation of the awards: Elizabeth Winston Lanier and Ann Doner Vaughn. The third is known as the Young Investigator Award.
The fourth award, also providing $20,000, is the OREF Clinical Research Award. Established in 1995, the award recognizes outstanding clinical research related directly to musculoskeletal disease or injury.
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