Lab-Grown Cartilage Moves Closer to Being Hip Replacement Option

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Implant made of patients' stem cells and synthetic 'scaffolding'
Implant made of patients' stem cells and synthetic 'scaffolding'

HealthDay News — Progress has been made toward developing lab-grown cartilage that could postpone or possibly eliminate the need for hip replacement surgery in younger arthritis patients, according to research published online July 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We have an implant that can functionally replace the diseased tissue, while also fighting off inflammation that could potentially destroy the new tissue," lead researcher Bradley Estes, PhD, vice president of research and development at Cytex Therapeutics, the Durham, NC-based company developing the cartilage, told HealthDay.

In the new study, the researchers reported on laboratory tests of an artificial cartilage designed to replace the surface of the hip joint. The researchers used three-dimensional textile technology to create the cartilage. It "mimics natural cartilage," Estes said, and includes a mix of plastic material and a patient's stem cells that are supposed to produce cartilage. The cells, he said, are also programmed to reduce inflammation.

According to the study, the artificial cartilage shows signs that it can replace cartilage that has deteriorated. The plan is to create cartilage that could last 10 to 15 years and be used on joints other than the hip, Estes said.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Cytex Therapeutics, which holds patents for the development of these devices.

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