Scientist have made a breakthrough in the research into arthritis, and are now a step closer to a cure for arthritis – thanks to cows.
That’s right, researchers at Pennsylvania State University in the US have successfully grown cartilage tissue in the lab from cow joints. They are hoping to recreate the results of what they have achieved to create a treatment cure for arthritis by growing human cartilage in a similar way – therefore slowly being able to release a treatment for worn joints.
Cartilage is easily worn through the years, as it does not have blood vessels, and therefore cannot repair itself easily. Metal joint replacements also wear out easily, and being able to replace the cartilage instead of the joints is a much better option.
Researchers successfully produced tissue similar to tissue normally present in humans, with the hope that these results may help create cartilage for repairing arthritic knee joints.
Previous attempts at growing cartilage have embedded cells in a “scaffold” of hydrogel, a jelly-like plastic material. But researchers have pointed out that hydrogels confine cell growth, and don’t allow them to communicate with other cells like normal. Degradation of the hydrogel could also produce toxic compounds that hinder cell growth.
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The next step in this research that successfully produced replacement cartilage in the lab using cow joints, is to apply this process to human cartilage, with each patient treated supplying their own source material to avoid tissue rejection.