NIH, Vista Engineering and UAB CNMB

NIH Issues a Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II Award to Vista Engineering and UAB CNMB Scientists

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has issued a two-year commercialization award entitled “Nanotechnology Enabled Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Prosthesis” to a Birmingham based company Vista Engineering and UAB CNMB researchers (Vista PI Dr. Raymond Thompson and UAB PI Dr. Yogesh Vohra, Dr. Aaron Catledge, and Dr. Patrick Louis).

This award of $746,369 is for a two-year period starting August 15th, 2011. It is estimated that over 10 million people in the United States experience pain and dysfunction in and near the TMJ. Typical symptoms include facial and jaw joint pain, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, locking of the jaw, and limited opening or inability to open the mouth comfortably. The vast majority of these patients can be treated with conservative, non-invasive therapies. However, some patients with severe TMJ degeneration may require a prosthetic replacement. Implants have been used primarily to replace the articular disc of the joint and the condylar head of the mandible. However, long-term success and functioning of these implants remains a serious problem.

Major factors contributing to the failure of TMJ devices include the choice of the design and materials of the implant, and the production of wear particles that can trigger a cascade of events that ultimately may result in the damage to TMJ structures. CNMB scientists and Vista engineering have been exploring the use of nanostructured diamond coatings on metallic components of TMJ to lower mechanical wear and improve clinical outcomes. The goal of this STTR Phase II program is to design a minimally invasive diamond-on-diamond articulating TMJ device using computational modeling approaches. This next generation of TMJ device will be fabricated and tested in a TMJ wear-simulator to have a service lifetime of more than ten-years of clinical use. The TMJ devices that show lowest mechanical wear in simulator studies will also be tested in an animal model. The clinical translational studies are planned to eventually allow testing of new TMJ devices for human use in the next few years.

From CNMB archives