Results from a 15-patient pilot study suggest that a new hydrogel and adhesive implant + microfracture procedure performed as well in humans as it did in the lab.
At 6 months, MRI showed that patients receiving the implant had new cartilage filling an average 86% of defects in the knee, while those receiving microfracture only showed an average 64% tissue replaced. Implanted patients further reported a greater decrease in knee pain.
The ongoing trial has enrolled additional patients, and is slated to support regulatory clearance for the technology in Europe. Clinical studies are supported by Biomet and Cartilix.
The Johns Hopkins team is also developing a next-generation version of the implant in which hydrogel and adhesive will exist as a single material. Additionally, they are developing technologies to lubricate joints and reduce inflammation.
Tissue Engineers Report Knee Cartilage Repair Success with New Biomaterial, January 14, 2013, Science Daily
1.B. Sharma, S. Fermanian, M. Gibson, S. Unterman, D. A. Herzka, B. Cascio, J. Coburn, A. Y. Hui, N. Marcus, G. E. Gold, J. H. Elisseeff. Human Cartilage Repair with a Photoreactive Adhesive-Hydrogel Composite. Science Translational Medicine, 2013; 5 (167): 167ra6 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004838