Nanoscale scaffolds and stem cells show promise in cartilage repair
September 7, 2012
Jennifer Elisseeff, Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering and the director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center, has been working with the TTEC team to create a nanofiber-based network to serve as a growth trigger for stem cell development into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees. Reporting online June 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team produced an important component of cartilage in both laboratory and animal models holding promise for devising new techniques to help those suffering from joint pain.
Dr. Elisseeff stated that "Joint pain affects the quality of life of millions of people. Rather than just patching the problem with short-term fixes, like surgical procedures such as microfracture, we're building a temporary template that mimics the cartilage cell's natural environment, and taking advantage of nature's signals to biologically repair cartilage damage."
After characterizing the fibers, the team seeded goat bone marrow-derived stem cells in various scaffolds to see how the stem cells responded to the material. Compared to cells growing without scaffold, the seeded cells developed into larger cartilage-like tissue.
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