Northwestern University has revealed a nanofiber gel that regrows natural cartilage in injured joints. This therapy may become the solution for cartilage damage or degeneration, which is the leading cause of joint and arthritic pain.
Help for aching knees may be on the way for amateur and professional athletes, the injured and the elderly. American researchers, in an animal study, have produced groundbreaking research in cartilage regrowth.
Nanofiber gel, a material that is injected into a damaged joint, can regrow natural cartilage. Specifically, it can regenerate type II collagen, a smooth white connective tissue that covers joints.
This research, reported in Businessweek is considered leading edge, since no other therapy can do this. Older methods, known as micro-fracture procedures, could produce type I collagen, but was essentially a cushioning scar tissue that would act as a substitute to cartilage.
This discovery was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Research on cartilage regrowth is in high demand as millions of sufferers complain of knee pain. It is known that once a person reaches adulthood, cartilage does not regenerate.
"Once you are fully grown, you have all the cartilage you'll ever have", says one researcher.
However, regenerative medicine is on its way. "“We view these results as a significant step forward toward a potentially new and innovative way to treat cartilage injuries in the future”, says Dr. Anzalone, CEO of Arrowhead Research.
Dr. Anzalone believes this proven technology will be the platform to repair a wide range of tissues from cartilage to spinal cords.