Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center doctors recently used a tissue implant made from a patient’s own cells to treat knee cartilage damage, according to a university news release. The release points out that healthy cartilage is key to the smooth and painless mobility of joints. Cartilage also has limited capacity to repair itself following injury.

In the release, David Flanigan, MD, the surgeon who implanted the cartilage and associate professor of orthopedics at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center notes, “If this implant works how we think it will, this could be a long-term, permanent solution for patients with these injuries.”

In order to generate the implant, the release says the surgeon first obtains a small sample of normal cartilage from a patient’s knee through a minimally invasive knee scope. The tissue sample is then treated and grown into a cartilage implant, which is returned to the injury site.

To gain regulatory approval, the Neocart cartilage tissue implant is currently in an FDA-approved, multicenter, randomized trial designed to compare the implant to the current standard-of-care for patients with articular cartilage defects of the knee. The Neocart implant is made by Histogenics, which is sponsoring the clinical trial, the release notes. Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center is one of approximately 30 trial sites nationwide.

The release reports that conventionally, microfracture surgery is considered the current standard-of-care for most cases of severe cartilage injury in the knee. While symptoms may improve for a period of time postsurgery, according to the release, microfracture does not create the same healthy joint cartilage needed to withstand normal forces of movement.

Flanigan adds, “The hope is that embedding patients with their own cells will lead to a more durable replacement of the lost cartilage and improve patient outcomes.”

[Source: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center]