UTHealth, Memorial Hermann to research treatments for battlefield limb injuries
HOUSTON - (Nov. 9, 2010) - The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center have joined a nationwide network of civilian and military trauma centers working to enhance the care of soldiers suffering serious limb injuries. Advances and discoveries from this collaborative work will also benefit civilians.
Approximately 70 percent of all traumatic combat wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq involve injury to the extremities, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
The United States Department of Defense provided initial funding for the creation of the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium in 2009 to generate research needed to establish treatment guidelines for the optimal care of wounded soldiers.
With the addition of Memorial Hermann-TMC and other institutions, the consortium now has 27 core sites. Staffed by UTHealth physicians, Memorial Hermann-TMC has one of the nation’s busiest Level 1 trauma centers. Funding for the expansion was awarded this fall.
“Together, the members of the network will address the most pressing issues in orthopaedic trauma care. The results of our studies will change practices, for both military and civilians, resulting in better care for all who are injured,” said Milan Sen, M.D., principal investigator for the UTHealth/Memorial Hermann core site.
One of the first projects will be to explore an innovative surgical treatment for fractures associated with soft tissue injury, said Sen, who is assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the UTHealth Medical School.
“We are thrilled to have UTHealth and Memorial Hermann-TMC as our partners in this effort to improve the standard of care for the wounded warrior and civilian trauma patient,” said Ellen MacKenzie, Ph.D., director of the Consortium’s Coordinating Center, which is in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. “Without a large multi-center effort such as this, we would be unable to effectively study many of the issues that are critical to ensuring the best outcomes following a severe injury.”
Similar trauma research is already underway at the UTHealth Center for Translational Injury Research, said Andrew Burgess, M.D., co-principal investigator and a professor of orthopaedic surgery at the UTHealth Medical School. “The center will be a good resource for the orthopaedic surgeons on the team,” he said.
The leader of the UTHealth Center for Translational Injury Research, retired Col. John Holcomb, M.D., is a former commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, which conducts extremity injury research.
“Because these studies are of the highest quality and performed at many sites across the United States., we will for the first time have the opportunity to rapidly progress optimal injury care. The research conducted by the consortium will help us better understand what works and what doesn’t in treating these injuries and ensure that our service members and civilians alike are provided with the best care possible,” said Holcomb, who is professor, vice chair of the Department of Surgery and Jack H. Mayfield Chair in Surgery at the UTHealth Medical School.
Within Texas, two other UT System trauma centers are participating in the consortium that is working on transformative solutions for acute orthopaedic injuries. UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas is also a core site and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a satellite site.
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