MARCH 2010

One Sunny, Warm November Day...

There was a boom and everything at MTF went black.

Seven utility poles lay on the ground along May Street directly adjacent to MTF’s main entrance in Edison, New Jersey. And a man on his way for a stress test at the Medical Building adjacent to MTF was trapped in his car under downed live power lines. The cause of the downed poles was later determined to be a wire caught on a truck which caused a cascading failure (much like dominos) with the utility lines and poles.

Getting back to business after a disaster depends on preparedness planning done before the crisis. MTF, under the capable guidance of Paul Reilley, Director, Tim Connors, Manager and Eugene Piekarz, Supervisor, and the other six members of the Facilities Team, sprung into action.


Because the emergency generator kicked in, MTF was able to finish processing all musculoskeletal tissues that were in the core, and have continued operational communications with IT. All storage freezers containing tissue were also safe. Since MTF customer service and shipping functions are handled in facilities that were unaffected by the power outage, there were also no immediate shipping concerns.

But who could have ever predicted that the biggest problem was that staff had no egress from the main facility until the local power company could free up some road from live wires. That process took about three hours, and then the staff exited safely to another MTF facility nearby until full power was restored 36 hours later. And, fortunately, the person trapped in his car was also evacuated safely without further incident.

MTF learned that while adversity is unpredictable, knowing what actions to take—and in this case, what not to take—can minimize the impact of a disaster.

California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN) Partners with the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF)

California Transplant Donor Network (CTDN) announced that it has begun providing musculoskeletal and skin tissue recovery services to MTF. The two organizations entered into an agreement earlier this year.

“Using a single agency as a point of contact for both organ and tissue recovery has proven successful in many other parts of the country,” said Matthew W. Crump, director of CTDN Tissue Services. “By combining organ and tissue recovery, we can increase donation rates while making the process easier for hospitals and families.”

Bruce Stroever, President and CEO of MTF, went on to note, “This is a great opportunity for both CTDN and MTF.

This partnership will combine the key strengths of each of our organizations and allow for the overall improvement of client services. We are pleased that many former MTF staff are on-board with CTDN as tissue service employees, and we look forward to knowing that their experience and knowledge will help provide a smooth transition.”

Both organizations have assured area hospitals that tissues recovered will be returned for priority use to local communities to ensure the “full circle” of the donated gift. Like organ recovery, tissue recovery is only accomplished with the consent of the donor via sign-up on the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, or by authorization of family members.

MTF Employees Raise Funds for Haiti Earthquake Relief

MTF employees raised $2,815 recently to help victims of the Haiti earthquake. With the Foundation matching those funds, MTF donated $5,630 to Haitian relief.

Employees hosted a special Jeans Day fundraiser where coworkers donated money to be able to wear jeans to work. Though the usual donation for a charitable cause is $5, many people gave much more.

“Everyone wanted to do what they could to help,” said Kathy Kennedy, Chair of MTF’s Events Committee. “In these tough economic times, it’s good to see people still truly care for their fellow human beings.”

MTF’s Research and Development group raised $1,200 with a bake sale to help fellow employee Duckens Fanfan. Duckens was born in Haiti, and has family affected by the earthquake. He is one of several MTF employees with close ties to Haiti.

“My family is living in a tent right now in Haiti,” said Duckens. “Their house was destroyed. Even if I feed them for one day, that would be one meal they wouldn’t have to worry about. I truly appreciate what my R&D colleagues have done.”

Graft Matching Technician Pharaoh Accilien also has family affected by the earthquake. “They are all fine,” said Pharaoh. “Although they did not lose their home, they were afraid to go inside because of aftershocks. As a result, they set up tents to sleep outside for now.”

Etzer Thomas, Procurement Trainer, has family that lives in Haiti’s capital. “My aunt’s house in Port-Au-Prince is down, but she was in New Jersey attending my nephew’s wedding; that may have saved her life,” he said.

Bruce Stroever, President and CEO of MTF, is proud of his employees’ generosity. “As a tissue bank, we live in a donation environment—translating the gift of donation into an allograft that can improve the quality of life for a recipient. It’s gratifying to see that spirit of donation reflected in the contributions of our co-workers to worthy causes like the Haitian relief effort.”

MTF Sponsors New ME/Coroner Liaison Teleconference Series

Suppose for a moment that you are in the middle of a tissue recovery on a donor who was the victim of a gunshot wound. As the tissue recovery coordinator, what would you do if you found a bullet lying in the body bag of the decedent and not lodged in any tissue? What would you do with the bullet in order to maintain the chain of custody and not hamper any evidence?

On January 21st about 50 participants dialed in for the third in a recently begun series of ME/Coroner Liaison Teleconferences designed to answer those questions and many others, and to educate MTF’s recovery partner participants about the role of the ME/Coroner during tissue donation and recovery.

MTF ME/Coroner Advisory Committee member, Philip Keen, M.D., presented the recent session titled “Collection of Evidentiary Items in Tissue Recovery Cases”. Dr. Keen has been a Chief ME in Maricopa and Yavapai Counties in Arizona and is the Tissue Medical Director at Donor Network of Arizona.

Participants were shown an online power point presentation that included key documentation elements, typical evidentiary items including toxicology specimens and trace evidence, and the required tools for collection of evidentiary items.

“Teleconferencing is a great way to present consistent information to many participants at the same time,” said Martin Navarro, Medical Examiner Liaison/Donor Services Coordinator at Donor Network of Arizona. “I’m also pleased that MTF awards CEUs. I definitely plan to join upcoming meetings.”

Online meetings will be held quarterly and are scheduled for April 22, July 22 and October 21. To learn how to participate, contact Corrinne Morgan, Senior Regional Director, MTF at 570-677-6878 or

And the answer to that opening question? Look for it elsewhere in this issue; like a true detective you’ll need to find it on your own.

MTF Recipient has International Perspective on Donation

Dr. Monica Montenero is not only an MTF employee, but a proud MTF tissue recipient. She began working in the tissue banking industry in the year 2000, never realizing that one day she would need a tissue transplant.

As an international employee of MTF, Monica’s job requires extensive travel. Everything slowed down when Monica’s health started to fail. “Once I developed the condition that eventually led to my transplant, an incisional hernia, I was miserable,” said Monica. An incisional hernia occurs when the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of the previous abdominal surgery.

Donated skin was used to repair the hernia and get her back on the road to recovery, and traveling again. “Once I had the operation, I was able to work with no problems,” she stated.

Like many recipients, Monica would like to meet her donor’s family to express gratitude for their gift. “I feel great now, and would like to let them know how their loved one changed my life. I’d let them know that just as one life was ending, another is being renewed through the gift of tissue.”

Monica spends most of her time in Europe at DIZG, MTF’s sister tissue bank based in Berlin, Germany. According to Monica, in Europe the awareness about organ and tissue donation is not as widespread as it is in the U.S. “Obviously, there is still a lot of public education that needs to take place as we continue to have a presence in European countries and many other countries around the world,” noted Monica.

Monica believes registering to become a donor should be an international call to action. “Please register to be a donor. This message comes from my heart, not only for those of you in the United States, but for everyone around the world.”

DBX Celebrates a Decade of Success!

Detective question--the answer

2010 marks a decade of success with the tissue form DBX. Classified as a bone void filler, it is used in spine, trauma, craniomaxillofacial, and dental surgeries to promote bone healing.

Surgeons remark that they use DBX because of its demonstrated bone formation, flowable and moldable consistency, biocompatibility with the human body, ability to stay in place, and its easy-to-use handling characteristics.

MTF partners with Synthes to promote DBX, and this partnership plays a significant role in the success of DBX.

Put gloves on so your DNA is not present on the bullet. If you have the plastic evidence collection bags from your local ME office, place it into one of those and immediately call the ME/Coroner who has jurisdiction for that case. If you do not have the plastic evidence bags, then place the bullet in a red top test tube so that contents of the tube can easily be seen; seal the tube and document on the tube time and place the bullet was found and add the donor name. Again call the ME or Coroner responsible for that case.

Pekin Hospital to Join MTF’s International Tissue Donation Program

Pekin Hospital, a 125-bed medical center just south of Peoria in central Illinois, welcomed an audit team to its facility in January as part of the process of joining an international venture to provide donated human tissue to recipients in Germany.

The hospital welcomed a team from MTF—­including Dr. Monica Montenero, Director of International Tissue Services, and Dr. George McCann, Education Director—who reviewed the facility to assure ongoing compliance with MTF’s quality and safety standards. Once the audit is complete, Pekin Hospital will become part of an international arrangement between MTF and its subsidiary DIZG, the German Institute of Cell and Tissue Replacement, to send tissue from Pekin to DIZG. DIZG is one of the largest tissue banks outside the US, and one of the founding members of the European Association of Tissue Banks.

The need for donated tissue extends beyond the border of the United States. For many years, Pekin Hospital has partnered with MTF to provide a tissue donation program to meet the needs of local transplant recipients. The international venture is an extension of the tissue donation program already in place.

“We are very pleased to have visitors from MTF reviewing our facilities. We are happy to participate in this program to provide tissue from our donors to those in need in another country,” noted Pekin Vice President of Nursing, Jo Ellen Patterson, RN, MS.

This international program also involves hospitals affiliated with MTF tissue programs in Madison, Wisconsin; Albany, New York; and Syracuse, New York.

MTF Announces 2010 Research Grant Recipients

Since 1987, the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation has been at the forefront of tissue research, with close to $24 million awarded in grants through 2009. MTF anticipates awarding over $2.4 million in grants in the 2010 calendar year. The 2010 grant recipients approved for funding are as follows:


Kathleen Derwin, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine-CWRU, Biocompatibility and Efficacy of Reinforced Fascia ECM for Augmentation of Rotator Cuff Repairs in a Canine Shoulder Model.

Valentina Grishko, Ph.D., University of South Alabama, Effect of Hyaluronic Acid on Chondrocyte Viability and Function During Prolonged Cold Storage.

David Sachs, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Induction of Tolerance to Composite Tissue Allografts.

D.R. Sumner, Ph.D., Rush University Medical Center, Stem Cell Mobilization to Enhance Bone Regeneration.


Yusuf Khan, Ph.D., University of Connecticut Health Center, Functionalizing Allografts with Polymer-Based Bioactive Coatings.

Brandon Santoni, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Effect of Systemically Injected Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells on Segmental Bone Allograft Osteointegration.

Alexander Shin, M.D., Mayo Clinic, Neovascularization, Axonal Regeneration and Return of Motor Function Following Processed Allogeneic Nerve Grafting: A Study of the Effect of Nerve Blood Flow and Neoangiogenesis on Functional Recovery After Allograft Reconstruction of Segmental Sciatic Nerve Defects.


B. Todd Heniford, M.D., Carolinas Medical Center, Evaluation of the Tissue Incorporation of Triclosan-Coated Human Dermal Grafts and Lysostaphin-Coated Human and Xenogenic Dermal Grafts and Their Effectiveness to Resist Infection with Staphylococcus Aureus.


Jay Lieberman, M.D., University of Connecticut Health Center, Progenitor Cell Response to Bone Graft Substitutes in Bone Repair.


Quanjun Cui, M.D., University of Virginia, Stem Cell-Based Angiogenic and Osteogenic Gene Therapy to Enhance Bone Defect Repair.


Thomas Keller, M.D., University of Virginia, A Novel Scaffold for Growth Factor Delivery – An Alternative Graft for Tendon Repair.

Mara Schenker, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, In Vivo and In Vitro Integration of Engineered Nanofibrous Scaffolds in Meniscal Defects.


For more information on how to apply for a research grant, contact Hans Burchardt, Ph.D., Vice-President, Scientific Affairs (570-496-3434 or ), or go to the MTF website.