An experimental trial that used cartilage cells from patients’ own noses to produce cartilage transplants for their injury-damaged knees could challenge the notion that innovation in cartilage repair is at a standstill.
The first-in-human trial in 10 adults reported in The Lancet found most recipients reported improvements in pain, knee function, and quality of life.
MRI scans at two years also showed the growth of new tissue similar to native knee cartilage around the site of implant, the researchers reported.
According to an accompanying editorial the trial represents an important advance towards less invasive, cell-based repair technologies for articular cartilage defects.
However long-term results—including data for integration and histological quality of the repair tissue, placebo-controlled or current treatment-controlled trials, and analysis of cost-effectiveness—will be needed to establish whether this technology has the potential to be approved by regulatory agencies.
“If so, these study findings could help challenge the notion that innovation in cartilage repair is at a standstill.”