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  • Author or Editor: John A. Jane Jr x
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Gregory A. Helm, Hayan Dayoub and John A. Jane Jr.

In the prototypical method for inducing spinal fusion, autologous bone graft is harvested from the iliac crest or local bone removed during the spinal decompression. Although autologous bone remains the “gold standard” for stimulating bone repair and regeneration, modern molecular biology and bioengineering techniques have produced unique materials that have potent osteogenic activities. Recombinant human osteogenic growth factors, such as bone morphogenetic proteins, transforming growth factor–β, and platelet-derived growth factor are now produced in highly concentrated and pure forms and have been shown to be extremely potent bone-inducing agents when delivered in vivo in rats, dogs, primates, and humans. The delivery of pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to regions requiring bone formation is also compelling, and it has been shown to be successful in inducing osteogenesis in numerous pre-clinical studies in rats and dogs. Finally, the identification of biological and nonbiological scaffolding materials is a crucial component of future bone graft substitutes, not only as a delivery vehicle for bone growth factors and MSCs but also as an osteoconductive matrix to stimulate bone deposition directly. In this paper, the currently available bone graft substitutes will be reviewed and the authors will discuss the novel therapeutic approaches that are currently being developed for use in the clinical setting.

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Gregory A. Helm, Hayan Dayoub and John A. Jane Jr.

Numerous mesenchymal growth factors with osteogenic properties have now been identified. Although many of these proteins can induce bone formation when delivered on a carrier matrix, these approaches have not been fully developed in the laboratory or clinic. The expression of osteogenic proteins via direct or ex vivo gene therapy techniques is also compelling because high-level, long-term gene expression can now be achieved using novel viral and nonviral vectors. In this brief review the authors will highlight recent advances in genetic therapies for the induction of osteogenesis, as well as their potential use for the promotion of spinal arthrodesis.

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John A. Jane Jr., Charles G. diPierro, Gregory A. Helm, Christopher I. Shaffrey and John A. Jane Sr.

Stenosis of the central and lateral lumbar vertebral canal can be congenital or acquired; the latter is most often caused by a degenerative process. The associated neurogenic claudication and/or radiculopathic symptom complexes are thought to result from compression of the cauda equina and lumbosacral nerve roots by hypertrophy of or encroachment by any combination of the following: canal walls, ligamenta flava, intervertebral discs, posterior longitudinal ligament, or epidural fat.

The authors' technique for the treatment of lumbar stenosis involves extensive unilateral decompression with undercutting of the spinous process and obviates the need for instrumentation by using a contralateral autologous bone fusion. The results in a series of 29 patients in whom the procedure was performed suggest that this decompression method safely and successfully treats not only the radicular symptoms caused by lateral stenosis but also the neurogenic claudication symptoms associated with central stenosis. In addition, the procedure can preserve spinal stability without instrumentation by using contralateral autologous bone fusion along the laminae and spinous processes.

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Gregory A. Helm, Jonas M. Sheehan, Jason P. Sheehan, John A. Jane Jr., Charles G. diPierro, Nathan E. Simmons, George T. Gillies, David F. Kallmes and Thomas M. Sweeney

✓ Autologous bone grafts are currently considered “gold standard” material for achieving long-term spinal arthrodesis. The present study was performed to determine whether demineralized bone matrix (DBM), type I collagen gels, or bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) can improve autologous bone spinal fusions. Using a unilateral decompression—contralateral fusion technique in dogs, each of these materials was added to an autologous bone graft. Volumetric analysis, histological analysis, and biomechanical testing were performed to assess the effectiveness of each material. The DBM had an inhibitory effect on solid bone fusion of the spine, whereas the type I collagen gels improved the bony interface between the graft and the host spine. The BMP-2 strongly enhanced the amount of bone deposition at the fusion site and increased the number of intervertebral levels that were solidly fused. This study strongly supports the use of BMP-2 as an additive to autologous bone grafts in spine stabilization.