New material to patch injured knee ligaments

different tissues. And Arnold Caplan of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, works with a common biological material called hyaluronic acid, which is normally found in the spaces between cells. He seeds the sponge-like material with stem cells from bone marrow, before implanting it in deep holes drilled in rabbit knees. "It regenerates cartilage at the surface of the joint, and then brings in blood vessels at the bottom to regenerate bone," says Caplan.

Although these results are exciting, much needs to be done to truly understand whether function, not just structure, is properly restored. At the conference, David Butler of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio talked about the need to design implants that can withstand the unique loads different joints encounter. "It's important to meet the functional demands of the tissue," he says.


Contact: Claire Bowles
New Scientist

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