Injury to a meniscus- one of the most common problems in the world of the knee joint. Only in Europe and the United States more than 1 million cases are recorded each year.
It is about the damage or rupture of the cartilaginous tissue of the knee, which functions as a pillow of the patella, giving it stability. This problem is quite common among athletes, especially in football, andin most cases, it can be solved only by a complex operation.
Since there is no blood circulation in this area,trauma to the meniscusthe wound heals with difficulty, and, consequently, the joint can not be completely cured.
In such cases, specialists are usually advised to perform a surgical procedure known as "meniscactomy which consists in the complete removal of the meniscus. And, although usually such operations are successful, it does not eliminate problems in the future.
But more recently, a group of researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol, in the UK, developed an innovative method that would help to cope with this problem without resorting to removal meniscus.
It is called a "live bandage created from the patient's own stem cells, which is capable of stimulating the growth of cells in the affected area and repairing damaged or torn tissue.
Meniscus, "repaired" using a stem cell shroud
The study, published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, shows how a "cell dressing" can stimulate the restoration of menisci affected by a knee injury.
The bandage was developed by Azellon's manufacturing company with economic support from Innovate UK..
This new technology was first tested in 5 volunteer patients aged 18 to 45 years with a diagnosis of a "meniscus injury".
- In the beginning, scientists took stem cells from the marrow of participants and cultivated them in the laboratory for two weeks.
- Subsequently, they used mature cells for the membrane framework, which were then implanted in the middle of the affected meniscus, sewing around the cartilage to fix it.
What was the result? To the surprise of the researchers, the method proved to be very successful, and the effect of such treatment has become very encouraging..
In almost all patients, the damaged meniscus completely recovered within 12 months after the procedure, only in 3complete recovery of the knee took 24 months.
Unfortunately, then 2 patients had to undergo a surgical operation to remove the meniscus, since the initial symptoms appeared again.
Two interventions are needed ...
Although it may be thought that the development of this new method will allow patients to avoid operations altogether, but the truth is that for successful treatmentit is necessary to conduct two surgical interventions.
The first to extract stem cells from the bone marrow, and the other for implantation of the cellular bandage.
However, study leader Anthony Hollander claims that they are working to improve the technology of treatment by using stem cells from donors,to reduce costs and avoid two operations.
In turn, Professor Ashley Blom, head of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Bristol, added:
"The stem cell cage offers a new treatment option that can be especially useful for young people patients and athletes, reducing the likelihood of premature osteoarthritis after a meniscactomy. "
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Very encouraging results
Although this topic requires additional research, the results from the application of the "cellular bandage" are very interesting and, in the future, this methodis a better alternative to the meniscus removal procedure.
Since it helps to repair damaged tissue, there is no need to perform other types of interventions to restore the normal functioning of the knee.
In addition, due to the complete restoration of tissue, the risk of chronic disorders, such as arthritis and osteoarthritis, will be significantly reduced.