InMotion: An essential resource in Memphis

By Randall L. Holcomb, M.D.

I have had the distinct honor of being a member of an extraordinary orthopaedic community.  The citizens of the Mid-South are indeed fortunate to have access to the orthpaedic clinical expertise available in the Memphis area.

Paralleling the abundance of orthopaedic clinical resources is a strong orthopaedic device industry.  While many of our citizens are aware of the importance of the MId-South as a distribution hub, far fewer realize the community contribution of our orthopaedic device industry.  I marvel at the array of resources present in Memphis, including their influence on industry, academia, logistics and their effect on finance, education and employment.  However, I have also recognized that for all of Memphis’ strengths, we have not yet fulfilled the same potential in terms of orthopaedic clinical research.

On the scene comes InMotion Orthopaedic Research Center with exciting development potential.  Through the future-minded thinking of Memphis Tomorrow and the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a special clinical research facility was crafted.  The independent research institute focuses solely on musculoskeletal research with the specific intent of “translational medicine,” that is, moving research from basic “bench top” to “bedside” medicine.  The interface of clinical and applied basic science is essential in my view to create new and improved treatments for musculoskeletal disease.

The commonplace surgical procedures and devices that benefit patients today were initially a simple “concept” in the mind of a clinician with the need to improve treatment of a vexing clinical condition.  The busy clinician generally does not have the opportunity to “go to the workshop” and produce a new medical device.  The interface between the clinician and the finished clinical tool is complex and expensive to negotiate.  InMotion provides a “one-stop shop” to facilitate new orthopaedic tools.

Few communities possess the requisite research resources to facilitate this kind of clinical development.  Fortunately, at InMotion those resources are in place.  Collaboration between clinicians and industry is essential to the orderly development of life- and limb-saving procedures of the future.

InMotion employs a full team of clinicial research associates, including three registered nurses, who support clinical research science throughout the city of Memphis and its hospitals.  Their clinical research allows evaluation of new and improved treatment  in a diverse patient population and under a variety of clinical states over time.  It is through prospective research that meaningful, valid scientific discoveries are made and new treatments are developed.

InMotion’s basic laboratory scientists also help orthopaedic surgeons study the effects that treatments can have on the human body over the long term.  For example, together we can analyze how a particular knee implant may change the cellular structure of bone, muscle and tendon, and its potential effect on tissues in adjacent regions of the body.

This informative dialogue can flow in both directions.  Those in my profession can also function to inform the clinical and basic science researchers at InMotion about specific clinical problems.  As an orthopaedic surgeon, I see treatment challenges my patients and colleagues face on a daily basis.  As such, we can partner with the InMotion staff and develop the best opportunities for research and collaborate in all aspects of the requisite science from basic to applied.

Besides the possibility of improving the community through the provision of “high tech” employment opportunities, the work of InMotion will certainly improve quality of life by development of new, effective treatments for musculoskeletal disorders.  We at Orthomemphis salute InMotion and look forward to research partnerships in the future.

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