- Research is currently underway on the possibility of using kangaroo tendons to fix human ligaments.
- Three top firms are in partnership with the University of Sydney with the hopes of disrupting the industry that is supposed to be a billion dollar market.
- They have found that kangaroo tendons are six times stronger than humans.
The researchers are being led by Bone Ligament Tendon (BLT) Pty Ltd and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC Limited (IMCRC), funded with $2.4 million cash invested by Allegra Orthopaedics. Dr. Nick Hartnell is leading the project. The project will take at least three years and with the intent to create a global supply opportunity through Australian medical and manufacturing innovation.
“Synthetic graft materials provide a reproducible option for ligament replacement procedures, but have relatively poor performance due to material failures that result in debris being deposited inside a joint, which cause cartilage and synovial damage,” said Dr Hartnell.
“Kangaroo tendon has a similar composition to humans but is longer and has better mechanical properties, which makes it an exciting natural product that could be used in a range of surgical procedures.”
How will the tendons be harvested? The ones that will be used in this project are those that will be salvaged from kangaroo tails and Achilles tendons that are discarded as waste. These will be taken from kangaroo meat industry companies and from the annual culling.