The next step in knee cartilage replacement

Although the hope of replacing damaged cartilage cells in joints, such as in the knees, has been around since about 1987, there has been varying levels of success. The main problem has been fixing the new cartilage cells to the knee joint and getting them to stick.

Recent trials at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China have used hydrogel as a scaffold for the cells to grow on to try to solve this problem. In pig trials, after applying this combination, the knee cartilage after 6 months was well healed.

Although there have not been any reports of human trials of this hydrogel/cartilage cell combination, it will be exciting to watch this space over the next few years as a hope of seeing damaged cartilage improved and reduced development of arthritis.

Le Page, M (2021) Gel could help treat damaged joints New Scientist, 4th September 2021, No. 3350. P15.

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