Swiss doctors have recently reported that cartilage cells harvested from patients’ own noses have been successfully utilised to produce cartilage transplants for the treatment of the knees of 10 adults with damaged cartilages.
According to researchers, two years after reconstruction, most recipients reported improvements in pain, knee function, and quality of life.
These results constitute the first conclusion of an on-going large scale trial to discover if knee injuries can be repaired with stem cells taken from the nose of the patient.
Professor Ivan Martin, a specialist in tissue engineering, explained the first steps in the procedure and said that, “The process consists of the harvest of a small biopsy, it’s a six millimetre punch biopsy from the nasal septum of the patient. This biopsy is chopped into small pieces. The cells are isolated from the small pieces and expanded in number over a culture time of about two weeks.”
Once the tibia is held at the correct angle, the damaged cartilage is cut out and the new one is prepared, while surgeons subsequently place the new cartilage next to the section of old cartilage.
The replacement cartilage is marked out and trimmed, before it’s inserted into the joint, and researchers say that the aim is to create tissue that is as good as the original.