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Traditional medicine mends bones, repairs skin

Posted on: August 9 2012

Medical doctor and PhD candidate, Graham Matheson, is unravelling the bone and wound-healing properties of a plant compound used for millennia by the Polynesians of the Cook Islands. The compound has cosmetic and therapeutic applications and is being commercialised for market by a UNSW spin-off company.

The compound is currently in the pharmaceutical development pathway, with applications in wound healing, burns, aging and skin repair. It also has potential applications based on the augmentation of the natural healing process in injured bone. The compound increases new bone formation within the first week of use and dramatically accelerates bone-healing time. Applications include fracture healing, prosthesis adjuncts, injury prevention and non-union injuries.

Dr Matheson's research aims to identify the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic and restorative properties of the traditional compound. The spinoff company's shareholders include UNSW/NewSouth Innovations, Graham Matheson, private investors and the traditional owners of the Cook Islands. Dr Matheson completed his medical degree, Masters and PhD at UNSW and he is Director of Emergency at Kareena Private Hospital.

This research has recently been highlighted in the Australian Press.

The company web site is here:

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