BERKELEY, Calif.—Biomaterials group DSM and AxioMed Spine Corp., an innovator in spinal implant devices, have extended an existing licensing and supply agreement.
DSM will supply its proprietary CarboSil thermoplastic silicone-polycarbonate-urethane material for use in AxioMed's Freedom Lumbar and Freedom Cervical Discs.
DSM's statement on the agreement said that symptomatic degenerative disc disease is “one of the most common causes of low back pain,” and occurs when the intervertebral discs in the spine degenerate and lose flexibility, elasticity and shock-absorbing characteristics.
Treatments such as spinal fusion and total disc replacements have grown rapidly, in part because of the increasing sophistication of the devices used in the procedures.
In the U.S., for example, more than 570,000 spinal-fusion procedures were performed in 2011, a 4.9 percent increase over 2010, according to the Millennium Research Group.
Growth in TDR procedures has been even more dramatic, with nearly 20,000 procedures performed in 2011, an 11.9 percent increase over 2010.
Spinal fusion joins two or more vertebrae together, immobilizing the faulty vertebrae and eliminating pain caused by abnormal motion.
TDRs are designed to replace degenerated discs and allow motion in faulty vertebrae, which can lead to diminished disability and faster recovery times.
TDRs also prevent the premature breakdown of discs in adjacent levels of the spine, a potential risk in fusion surgeries.
The first generations of TDRs were a ball and socket design using metal on metal materials. As the implants evolved, new materials were incorporated into their design including polymers.
DSM said its CarboSil TSPCU is an advanced copolymer that combines the biocompatibility and biostability of conventional silicone elastomers with the processability and toughness of thermoplastic polycarbonate-urethanes.
The material can improve in-vitro and in-vivo stability and helps prevent oxidative degradation, which can lead to improved patient results and longer lasting implants, the company said. The load bearing qualities of the TSPCU help secure the total disc replacement device in place as it flexes with the natural movement of the spine.
DSM's materials are incorporated in three TDR devices, as well as 11 dynamic stabilization applications with additional applications in development.