Repairing cartilaginous tissue may help improve quality of life of patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a new study has said.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most disabling diseases and is set to become more of a financial burden on health services as average life expectancy increases.
Lead researchers Yves Henrotin and Jean-Emile Dubuc examined the range of therapies currently on offer for repairing cartilaginous tissue.
They also consider how recent technological developments could affect the treatment of OA in elderly populations.
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) has been found to be the most promising therapeutic technique.
It involves non-invasively removing a small sample of cartilage from a healthy site, isolating and culturing cells, then re-implanting them into the damaged area.
A recent enhancement to this method is matrix-assisted ACI (MACI) - where the cultured cells are fixed within a biomaterial before being implanted to promote a smooth integration with the existing tissues.
"The huge financial burden emphasizes the acute need for new and more effective treatments for articular cartilage defects, especially since there are few disease modifying drugs or treatments for OA," said Henrotin.
Henrotin said MACI/ACI therapies could be used to delay or prevent the need for total joint replacement in OA patients.
However, it remains to be seen whether these techniques are superior in terms of risk and cost-effectiveness when compared with current alternatives.