Dr. Martha Murray stared at an MRI of Corey Peak’s left anterior cruciate ligament and choked back tears. With a mix of relief and astonishment, she said, “Oh, my goodness, it looks great.”
Peak was the first person to undergo the Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) surgery developed by Murray, an orthopedic surgeon, at Boston Children’s Hospital. Three months after the surgery, Peak’s MRI showed that his ACL had started to naturally knit together.
It was the first indication that the pioneering procedure, which uses a sponge bridge to connect the two torn ends of the ligament, could be a viable less-invasive option for ACL repairs.
On Wednesday, 10 months after that first promising MRI, Murray publicly announced the results from the Phase 1 safety study of the BEAR surgery. All 10 BEAR patients, including Peak, have new, healthy ACLs regrowing where there were originally tears. If Murray and her team at Boston Children’s see positive outcomes in Phase 2, then the procedure could be available for widespread use in three to four years and revolutionize how orthopedic surgeons treat ACL injuries.