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Using your nose to regenerate knees eroded by osteoarthritis

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Having already demonstrated that a small amount of cartilage taken from the nose can be used to repair injured knees, researchers will soon commence a clinical trial to investigate whether the technique can be used to regenerate joints that have been severely worn down by osteoarthritis. If successful, the procedure could be an alternative treatment for the debilitating condition.

The patella, the small bone at the front of the knee joint where the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) meet, rests in a groove on top of the femur called the trochlear groove. The patella slides back and forth inside this groove when the knee is bent and straightened.

Slippery articular cartilage covers the ends of the femur, trochlear groove, and the patella’s underside, ensuring smooth movement. But, in patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA), the cartilage becomes worn down and inflamed. In severe cases, the wear causes exposure of the underlying bone.

Researchers from Julius-Maximilians-University (JMU) Würzburg, Germany, will soon embark on a clinical trial using cartilage taken from the nose to repair worn knee cartilage.

“We take a small piece of cartilage from the nasal septum of our patients, culture it on a structurally supportive collagen matrix, and implant it for four weeks into the damaged knee to regenerate the cartilage,” said Associate Professor Oliver Pullig, Chair of the Department of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at University Hospital Würzburg.

Nasal cartilage cells are very similar to those in the knee in terms of their mechanical resilience, and they’re able to be grown easily in the lab.

Under the direction of the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, a previous study determined the safety and efficacy of this method of cartilage regeneration in localized, clearly defined cartilage injuries. Pullig’s new ENCANTO study – not to be confused with the Disney movie of the same name, ENCANTO is an acronym for ENgineered CArtilage from Nose for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis – will investigate whether the procedure can be used in more complex cases like PFOA.

The ENCANTO clinical trial is due to start recruiting participants at the start of 2025. Another, Swiss study that’s also looking at the treatment of PFOA is expected to start recruiting towards the end of 2024.

If the clinical trial shows that the cartilage implants are a viable alternative to the current treatment of PFOA, which involves surgical ‘resurfacing’ of the area with a prosthesis, they could revolutionize the treatment of cartilage degeneration, Pullig says.

Source: JMU




Having already demonstrated that a small amount of cartilage taken from the nose can be used to repair injured knees, researchers will soon commence a clinical trial to investigate whether the technique can be used to regenerate joints that have been severely worn down by osteoarthritis. If successful, the procedure could be an alternative treatment for the debilitating condition.

The patella, the small bone at the front of the knee joint where the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) meet, rests in a groove on top of the femur called the trochlear groove. The patella slides back and forth inside this groove when the knee is bent and straightened.

Slippery articular cartilage covers the ends of the femur, trochlear groove, and the patella’s underside, ensuring smooth movement. But, in patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA), the cartilage becomes worn down and inflamed. In severe cases, the wear causes exposure of the underlying bone.

Researchers from Julius-Maximilians-University (JMU) Würzburg, Germany, will soon embark on a clinical trial using cartilage taken from the nose to repair worn knee cartilage.

“We take a small piece of cartilage from the nasal septum of our patients, culture it on a structurally supportive collagen matrix, and implant it for four weeks into the damaged knee to regenerate the cartilage,” said Associate Professor Oliver Pullig, Chair of the Department of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at University Hospital Würzburg.

Nasal cartilage cells are very similar to those in the knee in terms of their mechanical resilience, and they’re able to be grown easily in the lab.

Under the direction of the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, a previous study determined the safety and efficacy of this method of cartilage regeneration in localized, clearly defined cartilage injuries. Pullig’s new ENCANTO study – not to be confused with the Disney movie of the same name, ENCANTO is an acronym for ENgineered CArtilage from Nose for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis – will investigate whether the procedure can be used in more complex cases like PFOA.

The ENCANTO clinical trial is due to start recruiting participants at the start of 2025. Another, Swiss study that’s also looking at the treatment of PFOA is expected to start recruiting towards the end of 2024.

If the clinical trial shows that the cartilage implants are a viable alternative to the current treatment of PFOA, which involves surgical ‘resurfacing’ of the area with a prosthesis, they could revolutionize the treatment of cartilage degeneration, Pullig says.

Source: JMU

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