New technology provides hope for injured horses
An Irish company is pioneering treatments for cartilage and bone injuries in thoroughbred horses
Orthopaedic injuries in horses not only have a huge economic impact on the horse industry but can also be devastating for their owners who invest so much time and energy into ensuring their horses' health and well-being.
Now new technology to repair damaged cartilage and bone in horses has been developed in Ireland. It is set to give hope to many of those owners, particularly within the lucrative racing industry, which sees dozens of horses sidelined with such injuries each year.
This breakthrough in veterinary science has been developed by Professor Fergal O'Brien, head of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, together with experts from Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and the AMBER Centre (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research).
AMBER is one of the key drivers of Ireland's growing international research reputation. It is now ranked third in the world for nanoscience and sixth in the world for the quality of materials science research.
Since its launch in late 2013, researchers at AMBER have announced four world-first discoveries in the areas of materials science that have been internationally recognised. Materials science is one of the fastest growing sectors globally, impacting electronics, medical technologies, and pharmaceuticals. Ireland exports approximately €80bn worth of these products annually.
The centre received a five-year budget in 2013 of €58m including €35m from the State and €23m from industrial partners.
During a recent industry day, Prof O'Brien outlined the successful rehabilitation of the racehorse Annagh Haven using HydroxyColl.
This product combines the two main constituents of bone tissue, namely hydroxyapatite and type I collagen, in the form of a three dimensional construct that has the intrinsic mechanical strength, architecture and biocompatibility for use as a commercial bone graft substitute, improving on currently available products.