Ten years ago, ReumaNederland invested in the Radboud University Medical Center research into new materials for prostheses. By doing so, the health fund (together with several universities and Royal DSM) stood at the cradle of a new application of Polycarbonate Urethane. In 2017, this resulted in the orthopedic startup ATRO Medical, based at the Novio Tech campus in Nijmegen. There, the accumulated scientific knowledge was further developed into an actual applicable prosthesis.
Jan Hunik, CEO ATRO Medical: “Since 2019, the meniscus prosthesis has been used in clinical research with first patients. In 2021 a second study will start in a number of Dutch hospitals. The studies should, partly through the input of the knowledge of ReumaNederland, lead to CE marking of this unique prosthesis, so that the innovation becomes available to European patients.”
The synthetic meniscus prosthesis is intended for patients with knee osteoarthritis. With many of these patients, the meniscus was previously partially removed and chronic pain due to knee wear developed later. For this group of patients, the meniscus prosthesis offers an alternative to the current policy of pain medication, physiotherapy and waiting until they qualify for a total knee replacement.
Corné Baatenburg de Jong of ReumaNederland explains: “It is great to see that a development that was initiated years ago is finally taken up by a team like ATRO Medical in order to achieve a truly new treatment for patients. They are working hard to improve the quality of life for knee osteoarthritis patients through this meniscus prosthesis. As an organization we can support the implementation. We know our way around this field. And thanks to the extensive patient participation at ReumaNederland, we can make the patient’s voice heard. This is how you ensure that the developments ultimately meet the expectations of the patients.”