b'Close to the Bone of DiscoveryFor more than 20 years, researchers Masahiro Iwamoto, PhD, DDS,in bone development and growth, Professor of Orthopaedics, and Motomi Enomoto-Iwamoto, PhD, DDS,including inducing closure of bone Professor of Orthopaedics, have focused their studies on the developmentgrowth centers when specific of joint cartilage and the regulation of bone growth. More recently, theirretinoids (chemical compounds of groundbreaking work within the UMSOM Department of Orthopaedics isretinoic acid) are used in mice. So, reaching the threshold of translation into practical applications. Grantingwe thought, notes Dr. Masahiro organizations are taking notice, and, with such broad implications forIwamoto, perhaps we can use this fundamentally advancing orthopaedic treatment, the Iwamotos areaction to treat some orthopaedic finding eager collaborators throughout the Department and beyond. conditions. The endochondral ossificationMusculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)This could be particularly important process is one of the maingrant supports their work exploringin children, for whom a fracture mechanisms in bone formation,how retinoic acid can be used toof a growth plate, the part of explains Dr. Masahiro Iwamoto.block this pathological ossificationa long bone where new bone The majority of the skeletonand promote normal bonegrowth takes place, represents originates as cartilage that, overformation.40 percent of all bone fractures. time, ossifies into bone. In mostOnce this happens, he continues, As it turns out, the Iwamotosabnormal growth may occur and cases, this process works perfectly.studies have shown that therelead to deformities. Imbalanced However, when it doesnt, thecan be a wide range of changesbone formation stemming from consequences can be devastating. Thats precisely the problem the Iwamotos research aims to solve.ALTERNATIVES TO PAINFUL SURGERYOne of Dr. Masahiro Iwamotos projects is an effort to block pathological endochondral ossification, a process that induces ectopic bone formation in soft tissue. We know that retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A found in the body, is a potent inhibitor of chondrogenesis, the process by which cartilage is developed, he explains. A recent NIH - NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis andDr. Masahiro Iwamoto at work in his lab on bone growth research.12CONNECTING WITH QUALITY: A Renewed Focus on Value-Based Care'