The biotech arm of the Sydney Spine Institute brings together a cross-disciplinary team of biomedical engineers, physiotherapists, research academics, pain physicians and healthcare professionals

Since 2012 we have been collaborating with biomedical Engineers from the University of Sydney to develop solutions to clinical problems. 

Surgeons continually have ideas of how to address surgical limitations, but need the assistance of engineers to construct solutions.

We have developed laboratories side by side with clinical consulting rooms to facilitate the continuous exchange of ideas between biomedical engineers and clinicians. The result of this collaboration is GSI (Global Surgical Innovations), a company that aims to develop a regenerative approach to reconstructive surgery.

Currently available technology for reconstructive surgery

Reconstructive surgery uses synthetic implants or biologic tissues to repair parts of the body, such as reconstruction of the face and skull, spine, breast, soft tissue, bones and ligaments. There are millions of reconstruction procedures performed globally and hundreds of thousands in Australia each year.  

Current reconstructive implants are either,

  1. Synthetic and made of materials such as titanium, plastics or ceramics, or
  2. biologic such as allografts and xenografts

These reconstructive implants are prone to pain, inflammation, scarring, infection, and cause damage to surrounding tissues (such as changing the biomechanics and increasing load on adjacent tissues). Up to 1 in 3 implants lead to re-operation.

Regenerative surgical approaches

We are developing actv-graft, a tissue repair bio-scaffold that enables the regeneration of functional body tissues that can be used in reconstructive surgery in many parts of the body needing repair.

This is world leading research based in Sydney.

How actvgraft works

Actv-graft is used as a regenerative bio-scaffold during surgical repair procedures. It harnesses the regenerative and restorative potential of the body, by rapidly drawing in the body’s own cells and biomolecules to heal by forming functional tissue. (Commonly what is formed around currently available implants is scar tissue.) When the actv-graft bio-scaffold is infiltrated with the patient’s own blood containing pluripotent cells (cells with capacity to differentiate) and biomolecules, it has been shown to regenerate into bone, muscle, cartilage, skin and fat. By altering the biomechanical support (physical properties) of the scaffold, we can promote regeneration of a desired type of tissue. After the regenerated tissue matures to a competent level for the target tissue type, actv-graft  bioresorbs as water, carbon dioxide and nutrients. The result is regeneration of tissue and restoration of form and function. 

Properties of the actv-graft bio-scaffold

  1. Promotes rapid healing through regeneration of functional tissues, bone cartilage, muscle, skin, and fat without scarring. Regenerates tissue in 1-4 weeks.
  2.  is made from safe and resorbable materials (with extensive FDA safety record).
  3. Can be easily shaped specific to the application and can be digitally customised for the individual patient need (for example shaped exactly to repair an anatomical defect that needs repair.)
  4. is compatible with biological tissues; it adheres to tissues and not cause injury.
  5. It can be impregnated with specific antibiotic to reduce infection.

Potential actv-graft applications for surgical repair

  1. Facial reconstruction
  2. Bone and cartilage regeneration to correct spine problems.
  3. Joint replacement integration
  4. Hernia repair
  5. Fistula
  6. Pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence

There is a growing number of Australians that need reconstructive surgery each year:

  1. 45,000 spinal reconstruction
  2. 54,000 hernia repair
  3. 80,000 facial reconstruction

Globally there are more than 45 million reconstructive procedures (Orthopaedic, Bone and soft tissue, abdominal soft tissue)

Actv-graft has the potential to benefit large numbers of people.

Actv-graft is not currently available for clinical use.