When the liquid mixture is injected into areas where cartilage is torn, such as a knee joint, the material hardens into a gel upon exposure to ultraviolet light, leaving the transplanted cells in place so they can grow new cartilage where it is needed. The biodegradable material will be described in the Jan. 10 issue of Biomacromolecules, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society.
Torn cartilage is an extremely painful, hard-to-heal injury, particularly since cartilage does not regenerate on its own. It most often occurs as a result of traumatic injuries, as during sports, and is most common in the knee joint, but the condition also can occur as a result of normal daily activity. Conventional treatment methods include rest, pain medication and, sometimes, invasive repair surgery. Patients undergoing surgery can face a slow, painful recovery.
Using a patients own cartilage-producing cells, our goal is to place the cells into our new gel and inject them into the injury site so that cartilage grows where it is needed, says study lead author Jason A. Burdick, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. The gel itself wont initially replace damaged cartilage, but will provide an optimum growth environment for implanted cartilage-producing cells so that new cartilage can be form
Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society