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An experimental stem cell treatment that grows new cartilage could someday help millions of arthritis patients avoid joint replacement surgery. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Cytex Therapeutics in Durham, N.C. have developed a 3D, biodegradable synthetic scaffold that is molded into the precise shape of a patient’s hip joint. In addition, using gene therapy, they have activated the new cartilage to release anti-inflammatory molecules to fend off a return of arthritis.
Joint replacement surgery is usually performed on the elderly to relieve pain from osteoarthritis, a painful and disabling condition caused by a loss of cartilage and the degradation of joints. Over a million hip and knee joint replacement surgeries are performed annually – a number expected to surpass four million by 2030 due to the aging of the U.S. population.
The discovery one day may provide an alternative to hip-replacement surgery, particularly in younger patients. Doctors are reluctant to perform such operations in patients under age 50 because prosthetic joints typically last for less than 20 years. A second joint-replacement surgery to remove a worn prosthetic can destroy bone and put patients at risk for infection.
“Replacing a failed prosthetic joint is a difficult surgery,” said Farshid Guilak, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University. “We’ve developed a way to resurface an arthritic joint using a patient’s own stem cells to grow new cartilage, combined with gene therapy to release anti-inflammatory molecules to keep arthritis at bay. Our hope is to prevent, or at least delay, a standard metal and plastic prosthetic joint replacement.”
The 3-D scaffold is built using a weaving pattern that gives the device the structure and properties of normal cartilage. Franklin Moutos, PhD, vice president of technology development at Cytex, explained that the unique structure is the result of approximately 600 biodegradable fiber bundles woven together to create a high-performance fabric that can function like normal cartilage.
“The woven implants are strong enough to withstand loads up to 10 times a patient’s body weight, which is typically what our joints must bear when we exercise,” said Franklin Moutos, PhD, vice president of technology development at Cytex.
Guilak, who also is the director of research at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis, and co-director of the Washington University Center of Regenerative Medicine, has been collaborating with Cytex on this research. The scientists have tested various aspects of the tissue engineering in cell culture, and some customized implants already are being tested in laboratory animals. He said if all goes well, such devices could be ready for safety testing in humans in three to five years.
For Further Information
More on the orthopedic stem cell therapy market in the U.S. can be found in the report published by iData entitled U.S. Market for Orthopedic Biomaterials. This report also covers the U.S. market segments for orthopedic bone graft substitutes, orthopedic growth factors, orthopedic stem cell therapy, orthopedic hyaluronic acid viscosupplementations, orthopedic cartilage repairs, and spinal machined bone allografts.
The iData series on the market for orthopedic bone graft substitutes covers the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, and 15 countries in Europe. Full reports also provide a comprehensive analysis including units sold, procedure numbers, market value, forecasts, as well as detailed competitive market shares and analysis of major players’ success strategies in each market and segment. To find out more about U.S. orthopedic biomaterials market data or procedure data, register online or email us at [email protected] for a U.S. Market for Orthopedic Biomaterials report brochure and synopsis.
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