The Missouri Orthopaedic Institute announced a $2 million donation from the Wyss Medical Foundation to orthopaedic surgeon James Stannard on Friday.
The gift frees up more time for research and leadership, said Stannard, medical director of the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute and the Hansjörg Wyss Distinguished Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at the MU School of Medicine.
Stannard spends almost two-thirds of his time on clinical care and the remaining time for research and running the department and the hospital is a “luxury,” he said. Without an outside funding source, he considered the research time his “gift back” to the institute.
He said the institute’s research on biological joint replacement is potentially game-changing. Natural tissues can help knees regain better function than artificial replacement.
With baby boomers getting older, Stannard said he expected a major increase in the needs of orthopaedic surgeries. Across the world, about 5.3 million orthopaedic surgeries were performed in 2010, and that number is expected to grow to 6.6 million by 2020, according to a news release.
“Many older people don’t want to slow down, and yet the joints are showing the wear and tear,” he said.
The Mizzou Biojoint Center has performed over 200 biological joint replacement surgeries in the last two years for patients from 24 states and six countries, Stannard said, and there are many more lined up.
It always takes a great deal of work and expense to keep in contact with patients and get them to come back so doctors can observe long-term progress, he said. The feedback from them years after the surgeries, however, is critical in the long run.
“In the area of joint preservation, we want five-, 10- and 15-year results,” he said, and the donation opens doors for it.
The institute will take the research to the Food and Drug Administration level, Stannard said.
Recently Stannard was nominated and elected as the president of AO North America, a worldwide orthopaedic research and education organization. In this position, he said he can focus more on making contacts with leaders and industries he wouldn’t have met easily otherwise. That would help with the long and expensive FDA approval process.
Stannard said he would call the foundation’s pledge an “investment.” The research on joint restoration, if successful, can benefit studies on musculoskeletal pain and trauma of areas including the hip, ankle and shoulder, he said.
In this sense, the donation will also allow MU to pursue “next level leadership” at the national or international level, Stannard said.
The institute at 1100 Virginia Ave. is the largest freestanding orthopaedic center in central Missouri, aiming to offer a full range of care to patients in a single location, according to its website.