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Keeping your body moving

Musculoskeletal disorders have a profound effect on patients’ physical function, overall health, and quality of life. The Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR) has been among the top 5 NIH-funded orthopaedic research centers in the nation for nearly 20 years, and this year reached a high mark for NIH support.

Hani AwadCMSR is comprised of highly integrated faculty from a variety of URMC departments outside of orthopaedics, including Pathology and Laboratory MedicineBiomedical Engineering, and Medicine (Rheumatology and Endocrinology). Much of its success is due to an emphasis on collaboration, the breadth of URMC’s Orthopaedics program, and the diverse research interests of the faculty.

Scientists are working on a number of fronts to bring new treatments for conditions that affect millions of people:

  • Arthritis is a chronic condition but patients can experience acute episodes of pain and inflammation, called flares. CMSR researchers are working to expand our knowledge of what causes flares and the potential for common drugs such as Viagra and Cialis to treat them.
  • Bone infection is a serious complication for patients who undergo total joint replacement; CMSR researchers have been working to develop a vaccine against the most common type of infection, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. CMSR’s patented “passive immunization” approach embeds medication into a bone “spacer” that is placed in the body after joint infection requires the implant’s removal. This localizes medication at the infection site for greater effectiveness.
  • Researchers are exploring whether tissue engineering can repair torn tendons without causing scarring, a common drawback of surgery. Tissue engineering will also be tested as a way to address craniofacial defects; for this project, CMSR will join a new national consortium that uses 3D printing technology.
  • CMSR is working to find solutions to bone loss due to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, infections, tumors that spread to bone, and bone destruction near the implants used in reconstructive surgery.