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Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2010 Feb;16(1):93-104. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2009.0455.

Establishment of a preclinical ovine model for tibial segmental bone defect repair by applying bone tissue engineering strategies.

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Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.


Currently, well-established clinical therapeutic approaches for bone reconstruction are restricted to the transplantation of autografts and allografts, and the implantation of metal devices or ceramic-based implants to assist bone regeneration. Bone grafts possess osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties; however, they are limited in access and availability and associated with donor-site morbidity, hemorrhage, risk of infection, insufficient transplant integration, graft devitalization, and subsequent resorption resulting in decreased mechanical stability. As a result, recent research focuses on the development of alternative therapeutic concepts. The field of tissue engineering has emerged as an important approach to bone regeneration. However, bench-to-bedside translations are still infrequent as the process toward approval by regulatory bodies is protracted and costly, requiring both comprehensive in vitro and in vivo studies. The subsequent gap between research and clinical translation, hence, commercialization, is referred to as the "Valley of Death" and describes a large number of projects and/or ventures that are ceased due to a lack of funding during the transition from product/technology development to regulatory approval and subsequently commercialization. One of the greatest difficulties in bridging the Valley of Death is to develop good manufacturing processes and scalable designs and to apply these in preclinical studies. In this article, we describe part of the rationale and road map of how our multidisciplinary research team has approached the first steps to translate orthopedic bone engineering from bench to bedside by establishing a preclinical ovine critical-sized tibial segmental bone defect model, and we discuss our preliminary data relating to this decisive step.

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