A new tissue scaffold can activate the growth of bone and cartilage when transplanted into knee and other joints, researchers from MIT revealed.
Lead researchers Lorna Gibson, of the MIT, and Professor William Bonfield, of Cambridge University, said that the scaffold could offer a potential new treatment for sports injuries and other cartilage damage, such as arthritis.
"If someone had a damaged region in the cartilage, you could remove the cartilage and the bone below it and put our scaffold in the hole," said Gibson.
The scaffold has two layers, one that mimics bone and one that mimics cartilage. When implanted into a joint, the scaffold can stimulate mesenchymal stem cells in the bone marrow to produce new bone and cartilage.
The technology is currently limited to small defects, using scaffolds roughly 8 mm in diameter.
The study conducted using goats showed that the scaffold successfully stimulated bone and cartilage growth after being implanted in their knees.
Gibson said that the new scaffold could offer a more effective, less expensive, easier and less painful substitute for treating cartilage injuries.
The findings appear in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research.