The Spine Journal Calls for End to “Years of Living Dangerously” in Promotion of Bone Growth Factors


spinejournallogoJune Issue Examines Controversial rhBMP-2 Research and Publications 

(Burr Ridge, IL)— In a bold move, the nation’s leading spine journal is shining a critical light on the limitations of industry-sponsored research and is bolstering transparency initiatives to protect the integrity of scientific publishing. The June issue of The Spine Journal is dedicated to a review of recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), a controversial synthetic bone growth product often used in spine fusion surgeries.

“The history of rhBMP-2 research is a cautionary tale for all medical professionals, researchers and patients,” said Christopher M. Bono, MD of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and acting editor in chief of this issue of The Spine Journal.  “As this matter demonstrates, the spine care field is currently at a precarious intersection of professionalism, morality and public safety. As physicians and journal editors, we felt an obligation to present a thorough examination of this controversial issue.”

Early industry-sponsored clinical research on rhBMP-2, published in a variety of orthopedic and spine-related medical journals, reported no adverse events or complications in hundreds of patients. However, in recent years, the use of rhBMP-2 has been associated with various early inflammatory reactions, cancer, osteolysis, infection, implant dislodgement and occasional life-threatening complications.  A separate study also in the June issue of The Spine Journal suggests that rhBMP-2 usage could cause a higher incidence of male sterility than previously described by industry-sponsored researchers.

“Despite the growing list of complications associated with this product, rhBMP-2 still may be of great benefit to a small group of patients who have serious problems in healing bone,” said Dr. Bono. “In fact, this special issue features several interesting basic science and clinical studies exploring alternative dosing and delivery methods of rhBMP-2 that could prove to have fewer complications and adverse events in the future.” 

The Spine Journal is the scientific, peer-reviewed journal of the North American Spine Society (NASS).  NASS is a multidisciplinary medical organization dedicated to fostering the highest quality, evidence-based and ethical spine care by promoting education, research and advocacy. NASS is comprised of more than 6,200 members from several disciplines including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, physiatry, neurology, radiology, anesthesiology, research, physical therapy and other spine care professionals. Find NASS on: NASS Facebook and NASS Twitter.

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