Biologic Treatments for Sports Injuries II Think Tank



Biologic therapies such as stem cells, platelet-rich plasma, and growth factors have created much excitement within orthopaedics as methods to enhance the healing process in biologically compromised and injured tissues.  Biologics have a special appeal in sports medicine because of their potential to accelerate healing in patients for whom quick return to activity is of great importance.  Moreover, biologics may improve the biomechanical quality of healing beyond that achieved by surgery which can meet the unique demands athletes and even the general population place on their tissues.  Biologics also have the theoretical potential to augment healing where current treatments fail to produce tissue that faithfully mimics native tissue such as in cartilage and rotator cuff repair.

Although biologics have been used to attempt to improve healing for many years, there are still many critical gaps in understanding the basic science, translational use and optimal clinical applications.  Fundamental knowledge is still essential to determine the proper indications for the use of biologics in sports medicine injuries due to their complex and injury-related processes. Additionally, proper characterization of available products and application procedures is needed before these therapies can be widely applied in the context of sports medicine.  The production of tissue that is chemically, mechanically, and biologically normal is likely to require a combination of treatment strategies that has not yet been elucidated.  It is also crucial to develop analytic tools with a high sensitivity, specificity, and selectivity to assess healing, tissue quality, and clinical outcomes.   

Wholly new concepts in the use of biologics need to be developed to allow for their directed and widespread usage in clinical applications.  A new paradigm based on multidisciplinary research will be required to advance this process.  In many centers, research is centered on highly specific basic science and translational models.  Coordinated efforts between centers in the fundamental research principles and advanced bioengineering processes are required to forward the use of biologics for human use.

Conference Goals:

On February 28th to March 1st, AOSSM hosted the Biologics II Think Tank Conference to 1) foster new efforts to elucidate fundamental advances in basic science and in vitro and in vivo translational models to identify those gaps in knowledge that have limited the widespread use of orthobiologics currently and 2) encourage multicenter and multi-disciplinary research studies to advance the field.  

Leading researchers were invited to participate in a two day Think Tank to identify the current challenges, problem areas that need to be resolved, and the essential directions that needed to be advanced in pursuing the use of biologics in sports medicine. 

Although participants were encouraged to present their latest research, the main purpose of the course was be to identify the needs, opportunities, and challenges in their field to advance and achieve these goals. Following are the presentations from that Think Tank.   

Audio and slides from presenters are available at the links below.


Saturday Session 1

The Think Tank and the Biologic Treatment for Sports Injuries Grant were 
made possible largely through the support of RTI Surgical.