OKC Company Demonstrate Robotic Technologies To Assist Injured Veterans

Inhofe Secured $750,000 In Federal Funding For Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, participated in a press conference in Oklahoma City on Thursday morning, October 30, 2008 in conjunction with an with an Oklahoma company OrthoCare Innovations for a demonstration of Robotic - Dual Use Military Technologies from the Department of Defense and Department of Energy to Oklahoma Company to Benefit Injured Servicemen/Veterans and Civilians. Representatives of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University, and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology all participated in the press conference.

"I am pleased to participate in this demonstration with OrthoCare, an exciting new Oklahoma company," Senator Inhofe said. "The new technology highlighted here today will go a long way in assisting injured servicemen, veterans and civilians. I was pleased to help OrthoCare secure a National Institute of Health grant of $750,000 for a Robotic Prosthetic Alignment System. OrthoCare will build on previously funded work in the area of prosthetic alignment to develop a novel, self-aligning device component.

"I have dedicated my career to fighting for the military and for veterans and will continue to do so. Today, there are nearly 2 million Americans with limb loss. Prosthetic technologies developed for military medicine and the Veterans Administration are almost universally dual-use.  This means that technology developed for the military can be applied to civilian application as well.  Plans by OrthoCare to commercialize these technologies here in Oklahoma City offer an economic development initiative in the Oklahoma Bioscience sector that is achievable in the near-term. I am proud to have representatives from Oak Ridge and the Applied Physics Lab here today to demonstrate this very exciting, cutting edge technology.

"What you may not know is that Oklahoma has a long, proud history of excellence in prosthetic care.  For the past twenty-five years, persons who have lost limbs have traveled to Oklahoma from around the world to receive the finest in prosthetic care.  The enabling technologies used in providing this care, however, were not developed or manufactured in Oklahoma.  In fact, the majority of these technologies were designed and manufactured outside the United States. That's why we are particularly excited that more is being done - by the people in this room - to develop and manufacture new advanced prosthetic technologies here in Oklahoma.  Further, they are made in the USA for our valiant servicemen and women and for many other Americans who have suffered limb loss due to accidents or illness.

"As we heard today, there are incredible advances being made in the field of prosthetic research and development.  But not enough is being done to ensure that these technologies reach the commercial marketplace. The investments that are being made in prosthetic research are not being coordinated, and there is little, if any, accountability with regard to advancing these technologies into the commercial sector. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services, I have been pleased to support the development of these technologies.  Researchers have accomplished amazing things.  But unless the technology can be transferred to a company to make them commercial products, they will remain only exciting idea in the lab. That is why I intend to address improving the commercialization of federally funded prosthetic research and development. And, I intend to ensure that much of that work takes place here in Oklahoma."

Dr. David Boone, CP, MPH, Ph.D., CTO and Co-Founder, OrthoCare Innovations, praised Senator Inhofe for his efforts in securing the Federal funding, saying, "The true value of these advanced technologies is only realized when we can move them from the labs, to the patients who need them.  Senator Inhofe has advocated for and supported the application of these federally funded breakthroughs for the benefit of our injured service men and women, and the roughly two million Americans who daily rely on their prostheses."

At the press conference, Senator Inhofe introduced Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.), Sr. VP, Executive Director for the Folds of Honor Foundation, who sustained the loss of a leg while on active duty in Iraq in 2004.  Senator Inhofe said Major Pulido provides a shining example of the type of person who will benefit from the types of prosthetic technologies highlighted today.

Major Pulido praised the Senator for his leadership and commitment to our nation's soldiers, saying "On behalf of our Founder Major Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor Foundation, OrthoCare Innovations and its many partners I would like to thank Senator Inhofe for his outstanding leadership in making sure that our service men and women who serve our nation are never forgotten. It is our duty, honor and our responsibility to make sure that those who have sacrificed so much have the latest and greatest in prosthetic care and innovations. With Senator Inhofe, Folds of Honor Foundation and OrthoCare leading the way we will make a difference and more importantly give these service members the quality of life they deserve."        

 

Senator Inhofe Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you Doug for your introduction.  I am pleased to have you and OrthoCare Innovations, an exciting new company, in Oklahoma City. I am particularly pleased to be here today with representatives of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, our host, along with Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. I am also honored to be joined by Retired Major Ed Pulido.  Major Ed Pulido sustained the loss of a leg while on active duty in Iraq in 2004.  He provides a shining example of the type of person who will benefit from the types of prosthetic technologies highlighted today. I was pleased to help Ortho Care secure a National Institute of Health grant of $750,000 for a Robotic Prosthetic Alignment System. OrthoCare will build on previously funded work in the area of prosthetic alignment to develop a novel, self-aligning device component.

As a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services, I have long made a commitment to help our troops to cope and recover from the trauma of war a top priority. I authored a successful amendment to this year's FY09 NDAA to establish a Center of Excellence in the mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of traumatic extremity injuries and amputations. The Center will use federal funding to research these injuries and treat service members. Approximately 82 % of injuries from the Global War on Terror involve the extremities often severe, multiple injuries to the arms, legs, head and neck.  Shrapnel from IEDs and RPGs is often the culprit. The House Report accompanying the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill states that "Extremity injuries are the number one battlefield injury...dynamic research and treatment is necessary to provide service members the greatest ability to recover from injuries sustained on the battlefield"  There is a need for targeted medical research to help military surgeons find new limb-sparing techniques to save injured extremities, avoid amputations and preserve and restore the function of injured extremities

The Wounded Warriors Act (included in the FY08 NDAA) created three Centers of Excellence in the Prevention, Diagnosis, Mitigation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of (1) Traumatic Brain Injury, (2) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and (3) Eye Injuries.  My amendment to the FY09 NDAA builds on this Center of Excellence network of care.  I have a long history of supporting this type of research.  Last year, I supported an additional $50 million in FY08 supplemental appropriations for the treatment of war injuries through the Peer Reviewed Orthopedic Extremity Trauma Research Program

What you may not know is that Oklahoma has a long, proud history of excellence in prosthetic care.  For the past twenty-five years, persons who have lost limbs have traveled to Oklahoma from around the world to receive the finest in prosthetic care.  The enabling technologies used in providing this care, however, were not developed or manufactured in Oklahoma.  In fact, the majority of these technologies were designed and manufactured outside the United States. That's why we are particularly excited that more is being done - by the people in this room - to develop and manufacture new advanced prosthetic technologies here in Oklahoma.  Further, they are made in the USA for our valiant servicemen and women and for many other Americans who have suffered limb loss due to accidents or illness.

As you will soon hear, there are incredible advances being made in the field of prosthetic research and development.  But not enough is being done to ensure that these technologies reach the commercial marketplace. The investments that are being made in prosthetic research are not being coordinated, and there is little, if any, accountability with regard to advancing these technologies into the commercial sector. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services, I have been pleased to support the development of these technologies.  Researchers have accomplished amazing things.  But unless the technology can be transferred to a company to make them commercial products, they will remain only exciting idea in the lab. That is why I intend to address improving the commercialization of federally funded prosthetic research and development. And, I intend to ensure that much of that work takes place here in Oklahoma.

As you will see in a moment, Oak Ridge National Labs has developed advanced, miniature hydraulics that are capable of powering a prosthetic knee joint in a manner never before possible. The Department of Defense has made very significant investments in the development of advanced upper extremity prosthetics that are actually controlled by the patient's own nervous system. And I am very proud that OrthoCare Innovations is participating with both Oak Ridge National Labs and the Applied Physics Lab to transfer certain technologies from these projects into the private sector.

First and foremost, we as a nation owe a debt of gratitude to great Americans such as Major Ed Pulido.   I have dedicated my career to fighting for the military and for veterans and will continue to do so. There are nearly 2 million total Americans with limb loss. Prosthetic technologies developed for military medicine and the Veterans Administration are almost universally dual-use.  This means that technology developed for the military can be applied to civilian application as well.  OrthoCare Innovations' plans to commercialize these technologies here in Oklahoma City offer an economic development initiative in the Oklahoma Bioscience sector that is achievable in the near-term. I am proud to have the representatives from Oak Ridge and the Applied Physics Lab here today to demonstrate this very exciting, cutting edge technology. Now here is Major Ed Pulido to say a few words.

Related Links:

Oklahoman: High-Tech Robotics To Be Built In City

Folds of Honor Foundation