Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rice bioengineers pioneer techniques for knee repair

29.03.2006
Breakthrough method in growing replacement cartilage

A breakthrough self-assembly technique for growing replacement cartilage offers the first hope of replacing the entire articular surface of knees damaged by arthritis. The technique, developed at Rice University’s Musculoskeletal Bioengineering Laboratory, is described in this month’s issue of the journal Tissue Engineering.


A breakthrough self-assembly technique for growing replacement cartilage offers hope of replacing the entire articular surface of knees damaged by arthritis. The technique, developed by Rice University bioengineer Kyriacos Athanasiou and postdoctoral researcher Jerry Hu involves a self-assembly method of growing replacement tissue. Using cells, Hu and Athanasiou have refined the technique to grow the entire articular surface of the lower femur. Each of these samples shown here were tailored three-dimensionally to fit a specific rabbit femur.


A breakthrough self-assembly technique for growing replacement cartilage offers hope of replacing the entire articular surface of knees damaged by arthritis. The technique, developed by Rice University bioengineer Kyriacos Athanasiou and postdoctoral researcher Jerry Hu involves a self-assembly method of growing replacement tissue. Using cells, Hu and Athanasiou have refined the technique to grow the entire articular surface of the lower femur. Each of these samples shown here were tailored three-dimensionally to fit a specific rabbit femur.

"This has significant ramifications because we are now beginning to talk, for the first time, about the potential treatment of entire arthritic joints and not just small defects," said lead researcher and lab director Kyriacos Athanasiou, the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering.

Athanasiou’s new self-assembly method involves a break from conventional wisdom in bioengineering; almost all previous attempts to grow replacement transplant tissues involved the use of biodegradable implants that are seeded with donor cells and growth factors. These implants, which engineers refer to as scaffolds, foster the tissue growth process by acting as a template for new growth, but they always present a risk of toxicity due to the fact that they are made of materials that aren’t naturally found in the body.

In the newly reported findings, Athanasiou and postdoctoral researcher Jerry Hu, using nothing but donor cells, grew dime-sized disks of cartilage with properties approaching those of native tissue. In a follow-up study due for publication soon, graduate student Christopher Revell refined the process to produce disks that are virtually identical to native tissue in terms of both mechanical and biochemical makeup.

In a third, and perhaps most impressive breakthrough, Athanasiou and Hu used the self-assembly approach to grow the entire articular surface of the distal femur. Each of these unbroken samples were tailored three-dimensionally to fit a specific rabbit femur.

"If you told me 10 years ago that we would be making entire articular end caps via self assembly I would have said you were crazy," said Athanasiou. "The fact that we can do this is an indication of how far the discipline of tissue engineering has progressed."

Unlike cartilage, most tissues in our bodies – including skin, blood vessels and bone – regenerate themselves constantly. Tissue engineers try to capitalize on the body’s own regenerative powers to grow replacement tissues that can be transplanted without risk of rejection. Donor cells from the patient are used as a starting place to eliminate rejection risks.

Most tissue engineering involves honeycombed plastic templates or hydrogels called scaffolds that are used to guide colonies of donor cells. Donor cells can be either adult stem cells or other immature cells. Athanasiou’s latest work was done using chondrocytes, or cartilage cells.

Athanasiou, a former president of the international Biomedical Engineering Society, helped pioneer the development of coin-sized scaffolds in the early 1990s that are now the state-of-the-art clinical option for repairing small defects in articular knee cartilage.

His lab is also working on techniques to grow replacement knee menisci, the kidney shaped wedges of cartilage that sit between the femur and tibia and absorb the compressive shock that the bones undergo during walking and running. Over the past 18 months, he and his students Adam Aufderheide and Gwen Hoben have perfected methods of growing meniscus-shaped pieces of cartilage, but they are still trying to perfect the mechanical strength of the engineered meniscus tissue, which must be able to withstand up to an astounding 2,400 pounds per square inch of compressive pressure.

Jade Boyd | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>