Lower back pain is not only one of the most common health problems experienced by adults: it is also one of the most expensive. Between lost productivity and the actual cost of treating the condition, experts estimate the annual cost of lower back pain in the United States at well over $100 billion dollars. It’s no wonder that researchers are working so hard to find improved solutions – whether surgical or more conservative approaches – to address the problem.
The most recent entry in the market comes from a regenerative medicine company called Vivex Biologics, which is currently testing a non-surgical injectable treatment option for those suffering the effects of degenerative disc disease on the lumbar spine. Initial testing has yielded significant improvements, enough so that the studies will continue.
According to a report published in The International Journal of Spine Surgery, a 12-month study of safety and efficacy involving 24 patients diagnosed with one or two level symptomatic degenerative disc disease has proven extremely positive. Not only was pain and function improved for the patients by more than 70%, but the improvement was sustained for a full year after the injections were administered.
Speaking of the results, principal investigator of the study and Chief of Radiology Services at the Clinical Radiology of Oklahoma Dr. Douglas Beall said, “I am highly encouraged by the initial results and safety data from the VAST study. Implantation of disc tissue allograft can be done safely, and early evidence suggests greater than 70% improvements in VAS and ODI sustained at 12 months in the allograft groups. Interventions like VIA Disc have the potential for treating mild-to-moderate degenerative discs that greatly advance an alternative to surgical intervention.”
Lower back pain is currently treated using a variety of protocols ranging from conservative approaches like massage and exercise to injections and pain medications, and then finally to surgery. These are usually introduced in a progression, with the least invasive treatment offered first and then moving to more aggressive approaches as previous attempts fail. The Vivex innovation is an injectable supplementary allograft, and the study aims to enroll a total of 220 subjects at 15 different clinical sites. The injection’s impact will be measured against both placebo and other conservative care.
Vivex Biologics’ CEO Peter Wehrly spoke to their hopes for the product, saying,
“These results provide further validation of the therapeutic potential VIA Disc may offer patients in critical need of innovative solutions for degenerative disc disease. Leveraging our expertise around naturally sourced treatment options, our team developed VIA Disc to maximise the regenerative powers of the body to provide patients with a minimally invasive option that provides lasting relief. The early evidence from the VAST study suggests VIA Disc is able to deliver meaningful and durable pain relief, restore function and improve quality of life. We look forward to continuing to build this important clinical body of evidence.”
As innovators work towards new protocols, our lumbar spine specialists will continue working to provide our patients with the most effective treatment available. For help with your lower back pain, contact us today to set up an appointment.