EUROSTARS

ATRO: Medical lead development of novel meniscus prothesis for knee osteoarthritis patients

Read on to learn more about how ATRO Medical led consortium received a €900,000 award from the Eurostars programme.

No one in the world has been able to develop a permanent lateral meniscus prosthesis yet, so this is a novel and major challenge.” – ATRO Medical Market Development Manager Maarten van der Zanden 

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a major cause of disability in Europe and the USA. Each year, over 1 million meniscectomies are performed, which lead to the development of KOA in 40% of patients. Despite the apparent prevalence of this disease, KOA patients currently face the all-or-nothing treatment option of a total knee replacement (TKR) whereby they are provided pain relief. However, KOA patients are only eligible for TKR after severe deterioration of the cartilage and preferably when they are over the age of 65. Thus, in patients who are too young, or whose condition has not yet deteriorated to bone-on-bone contact, the main treatment option is pain relief medication. On average the painful period between onset of symptoms and the final TKR is about 13 years in the Netherlands. Therefore, there is a void of surgical treatment options, between a first meniscectomy and the TKR, leaving many KOA patients in a cyclical treatment gap consisting of pain medication, hyaluronic acid injections, braces and physiotherapy.

 

Trammpolin® Medial Meniscus Prosthesis used in on-going clinical study
Trammpolin® Medial Meniscus Prosthesis used in on-going clinical study

 

ATRO Medical aims to address this treatment gap with their medical device, the Trammpolin® prosthesis, which is a durable anatomically shaped implant made of medical grade polycarbonate urethane. ATRO Medical has previously developed a medial meniscus implant, the Trammpolin® Medial Meniscus Prosthesis, which is currently under clinical evaluation. Providing KOA patients with the Trammpolin® Medial Meniscus Prosthesis can restore knee mechanics, relieve pain and as such improve their quality of life.  With the new KOA-LA Eurostars project, ATRO Medical aims to complete their offering by developing the Trammpolin® Lateral Meniscus Prosthesis.

However, developing an implant for the lateral meniscus presents an especially difficult challenge due to its increased mobility relative to the medial meniscus. ATRO Market Development Manager Maarten van der Zanden explained, “Replacing the lateral meniscus is very difficult, as there is an enormous amount of pressure on the material during movement. No one in the world has been able to develop a permanent lateral meniscus prosthetic, so this is a novel and major challenge.”

The KOA-LA project consortium consists of ATRO Medical in partnership with Samaplast (Switzerland) and Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands). The recent €900,000 Eurostars award invigorated ATRO Medical’s plans to develop the lateral prosthetic, as highlighted by Maarten, “It came at a convenient time because of the Covid-19 crisis, which has made finding funding more problematic. Without this Eurostars collaboration, I don’t think we would have been able to develop this second (lateral) meniscus prosthetic. We are thrilled with the win because this will complete our offering, along with the Trammpolin® Medial Meniscus Prosthesis.”

Winning the Eurostars grant has provided ATRO Medical with the opportunity to take forward the Trammpolin® Meniscus prosthesis to the market. Maarten described the application process and working with Catalyze, “To me it made sense to do it with Catalyze, you have clear communications and a very strict, timely process. I am very happy with how things went.”

 

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