Shelly Abramowicz and Steven Goudy to Study Bone Regeneration Techniques for Treating Maxillary Defects

August 2018

The Osteo Science Foundation, which supports regenerative medicine in oral, cranial, and maxillofacial surgery, has awarded Shelly Abramowicz, DMD, MPH, associate professor of surgery and pediatrics in the Emory Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Steven Goudy, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology in the Emory Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a grant as Co-Principal Investigators.

Drs. Abramowicz and Goudy will study the mechanism that stimulates osteoblasts, known as bone-building cells, to form and/or remodel bone, with the long-range goal of determining if inducing this process can be used to treat congenital deformations of the jaw caused by defects in bone mass, such as maxillary hypoplasia and cleft palate.

Jagged1 is a protein involved in the cell signaling system that regulates bone growth and reshapes bone as the body changes. Drs. Abramowicz and Goudy have conducted in vitro studies demonstrating that Jagged1 is essential to stimulating osteoblasts, and that delivery of Jagged1 leads to greater bone formation.

For this study, they have created a murine model of maxillary hypoplasia — an underdevelopment of the bones in the upper jaw that can cause the lower jaw to appear to protrude — by withholding Jagged1 and causing bone density loss. They hypothesize that their subsequent delivery of Jagged1 will regenerate bone growth in the model, and treat the maxillary hypoplasia.

"If we are successful, we hope that future studies will determine the ability of Jagged1 to induce bone formation in large animal models, thereby assessing its efficacy and safety as a bone biologic therapy," says Dr. Abramowicz.