Researchers Bringing Nose Cells to Knees for Joint Repair

OCTOBER 21, 2016
Ryan Black
Rheumatology, rheumatologists, orthopedics, arthritis, joint repair, joint health, internal medicine, cartilage, yoga, osteoarthritis
Many people try to touch their knees to their noses in stretches or popular yoga poses. Many others can’t imagine doing such a thing, due to painful rheumatic conditions and sports injuries that result in damage to the articular cartilage in their knees.

A new experimental treatment for those people brings cartilage from their noses into their knees, in an effort to reliably regrow the vital cushioning layer in such all-important joints. Whether it’ll have anyone testing their yoga prowess again is unseen, and beside the point: results of a new study from Switzerland published this week in The Lancet showed that the treatment is plausible, and that at a short distance, it seemingly works.

Ten adult patients who had suffered major, cartilage-compromising knee injuries were included in the study. Each had a small cache of cartilage cells extracted from their own septum in a minimally invasive procedure. The cells were then treated with growth factor for two weeks, then seeded onto collagen membranes for another two. The result were 30x40x2mm cartilage grafts, which could be cut down to size and used to surgically replace the existing damaged cartilage, which was removed.

At 24 months, no procedure-related adverse events were reported, and 9 of the 10 patients testified to improved function and decreased pain in the treated joint. “Radiological assessments indicated variable degrees of defect filling and development of repair tissue approaching the composition of native cartilage,” write the authors. The study is ongoing, looking to monitor the implanted grafts over a long period of time.

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