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UCLA Orthopaedic Surgery



Message from Dr. John Adams, Vice Chair for Research  

Dr. John Adams  
Dr. John Adams  

Founded in 1951, UCLA is one of the leading, public research institutions in the world, ranking 4th out of the top 100 global universities in a 2006 survey published by Newsweek International.

Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center (OHRC)
In 2007, the UCLA/Orthopaedic Hospital Department
of Orthopaedic Surgery opened the Cesar Pelli-
designed, state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot
Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center (OHRC).

UCLA is consistently ranked among the top 10 institutions for research funding in the United States, 2nd among public universities.  In fiscal year 2006-07 $914 M in extramural research funds were awarded to UCLA, 2/3 of which ($585 M) came from federal resources.  The UCLA/Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery now ranks 8th among all departments of orthopaedic surgery in the country in terms of competitive research support from the National Institutes of Health.

In 2007, The UCLA/Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery opened the Cesar Pelli-designed, state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center (OHRC) in the heart of the Court of the Sciences on the UCLA Westwood campus (right).  Addition of the OHRC catapulted the UCLA/Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic research space to more than 48,000 square feet, tops in the United States among other departments of orthopaedic surgery.  In this same two-year period the Department doubled its research faculty to 32.  In addition to amplifying traditional research strengths in biomechanics, materials science and cartilage biology, the addition of the OHRC opened new areas of research in 1) stem cell and developmental biology, 2) molecular endocrinology and genetics, 3) tissue engineering and nanotechnology science and 4) patient-oriented clinical research designed to move discoveries made at the bench in the laboratory quickly but safely into the realm of clinical medicine.

We harbor three specific goals.  The first is to become the foremost research department of orthopaedic surgery in the United States.  The second is to build the world's leading training program in regenerative-restorative orthopaedic medicine and train the next generation of leaders in the field.  The third is to bring research advances to the care of children with crippling musculoskeletal disease, a 100+ year-long mission of the Orthopaedic Hospital of Los Angeles. Meet our Research Faculty »

UCLA Stem Cell Researchers Grow Bone from Fat Cells

Bruno Peault, PhD Professor Chia Soo, MD Adjunct Associate Professor Kang Ting, DMD
Bruno Peault, PhD
Chia Soo, MD Adjunct Associate Professor Kang Ting, DMD Professor

UCLA continues to make advances in stem cell research. Their latest breakthrough involved the use of fresh, purified fat stem cells to grow bone. They note that their new procedure grew bone more rapidly; in addition, it was of higher quality than bone grown using traditional methods. They reported their findings June 11, 2012 in the early online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Traditionally, new bone has been grown from a bone graft, which involves removing a section of bone from a patient.

The invasive procedure is extremely painful. In contrast, fat cells can be readily obtained through much less painful processes such as liposuction. Furthermore, fat cells (adipose tissue) are considered to be an ideal source of mesenchymal stem cells. These plentiful and easily obtainable cells are capable of developing into bone, cartilage, muscle, and other tissues. Thus, the new study may lead to the elimination of the painful bone grafting process explained co-senior author Dr. Chia Soo, vice chair for research at UCLA Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He and the other co-senior author, Bruno Péault, are members of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. Péault and Soo's team used a cell sorting machine to isolate and purify human perivascular stem cells (hPSC) from adipose tissue and showed that those cells worked far better than SVF cells in creating bone. They also showed that a growth factor called NELL-1, discovered by Dr. Kang Ting of the UCLA School of Dentistry, enhanced the bone formation in their animal model. Full article on stemcell-news.org » | Additional Coverage: medicalxpress.com | healthnewsdigest.com
The breakthrough will be especially welcomed by two members of the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Eugenie. Article on express.co.uk »

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Awarded $1.2M NIH Institutional Training Grant

The UCLA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has recently been awarded a $1.2M NIH Institutional Training Grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin (NIAMS) with Drs. John S. Adams and Karen M. Lyons as Principal Investigators.

There are only eight institutional training grants awarded from NIAMS for orthopedic research nation-wide with the award at UCLA only the second in the Western United States. This training grant will support the research efforts of up to four postdoctoral fellows in musculoskeletal medicine over the course of the next 5 years.
Read more about the UCLA Regenerative Musculoskeletal Medicine Training Program »

Bone Tissue Workshop: "Hierarchical Simulations for Clinical Applications"

Maria Grazia-Ascenzi, PhD
Maria Grazia-Ascenzi, PhD,
Adjunct Professor and Researcher

Dr. Ascenzi organized the workshop Bone Tissue: Hierarchical Simulations for Clinical Applications, held at UCLA from April 21 to 23, 2010 in collaboration with the UCLA's Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics and the Office of Continuing Medical Education of the David Geffen School of Medicine. Orthopaedic surgeons, clinicians, system biologists, mechanical and software engineers, physicists and applied mathematicians met to share progress and map a path towards the elaboration of clinically-useful virtual bone - a multi-scale virtual rendering of bone tissue in three dimensions.  The workshop and the follow up of the working group established in connection with the workshop are timely because of:

  1. increasing availability of mathematical techniques for advanced imaging analysis and theories that link different scales of tissue;
  2. accumulation of information about bone's micro- and ultra- structure; and
  3. increase of supercomputer capability to allow multi-scale models with higher complexity.
    This workshop will run every three years to follow developments.

Grant Award

Bruno Peault, PhD Professor Principal Investigator Chia Soo, MD Adjunct Associate Professor Co-Principal Investigator
Bruno Peault, PhD

Principal Investigator
Chia Soo, MD Adjunct Associate Professor
Co-Principal Investigator

Drs. Bruno Péault, Chia Soo, Kang Ting and Benjamin Wu have teamed up to win a prestigious $5.4 million Candidate Development Award from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) on bone regeneration.

Drs. Péault, Soo, Ting, Wu comprise a multidisciplinary core team with expertise in reconstructive surgery, musculoskeletal biology, molecular pathology, developmental biology, stem cell biology, material science and bioengineering. Drawing upon personnel resources from three top-ranked schools at UCLA: the David Geffen School of Medicine ( Péault, Soo, Ting, Wu), the School of Dentistry (Ting, Wu), and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (Wu), Dr. Adams, the Vice Chair for Research, Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, assembled this multidisciplinary core team of clinician-scientists to tackle difficult regenerative medicine problems. Based within the UCLA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, the multidisciplinary core team is led by Dr. Soo, a reconstructive surgeon and academician with crucial translational research expertise as well as industrial and FDA regulatory experience.

Video: UCLA Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center

The team’s primary mission is to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine based therapies. The bone regeneration program proposed in the present CIRM award is the first of many projects to be addressed by the multidisciplinary core team. The CIRM bone regeneration project combines the regenerative potential of unique perivascular stem cells (discovered by Dr. Péault, the CIRM project PI) and novel growth factor, NELL-1 [discovered by Dr. Ting and developed by Drs. Soo (CIRM project Co-PI), Ting, and Wu). The PI, Dr. Péault, will lead the integrative efforts of the team to define perivascular stem cell biology relative to other stem cells as well as to optimize their processing. The Co-PI, Dr. Soo will lead the team to define the safety and efficacy of the combination stem cell NELL-1 product. Dr. Ting will lead the team to optimize NELL-1 and perivascular stem cell osteoinductivity. Dr. Wu will lead the team to develop sustained delivery NELL-1 carriers, scaffolds to maximize osteogenesis, and scalable manufacturing protocols.

Other regenerative medicines therapies in the pipeline for future grant submissions include knee cartilage regeneration, osteoporotic fracture healing, skin wound regeneration, and cardiac regeneration. According to Dr. Adams: “The Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center was created and funded as an alliance among the School of Medicine , Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Orthopaedic Hospital. With new research space as well as the Departments of Pathology, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research as partners, we sought to recruit scientists from outside of UCLA (Soo and Péault) to join investigators already present at UCLA (Ting and Wu) to undertake an innovative transdisciplinary approach to musculoskeletal regenerative medicine for eventual applications in human disease.” View grant award article as a PDF >>

Read more about our center and our research faculty:

UCLA Rated One of the Top Hospitals in the Nation