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Comparative Orthopaedics

Our mission is to study the cause, mechanism of development, and methods for treatment of cartilage, bone, tendon, and ligament diseases.

Dr. Alan Nixon, Director

The Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory at Cornell University was founded in 1991 with the specific mission to foster and expand multidisciplinary research into orthopedic problems of animals and man. The laboratory provides a focus point for the dedicated study of the basic mechanisms of orthopedic diseases and the development of innovative targeted therapeutic measures. The primary species of interest are the equine and human athlete. Results of studies involving the cause and treatment of diseases in the horse have been directly applied to similar syndromes in man and companion animal species. Examples include the development of cartilage cell transplantation for acute joint injuries in the horse. Research done by the Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory allowed the continued application of cartilage cell transplantation to the human knee; by early 2004 over 10,000 cartilage cell transplantation procedures had been performed in the United States using techniques validated by the laboratory. Likewise, enhanced cartilage cell transplantation procedures have benefited over 120 horses with acute joint injuries.

Cartilage cell and growth factor graft of a subchondral cyst in the femoral condyle of a racehorse, ultimately aiming to return cartilage architecture to normal

For shoulder injuries, a study of rotator cuff fixation techniques has paved the way for better surgical repair in people and was recognized by the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons through the Neer Award for research excellence.