Growing your own prosthetic limb may sound like science fiction… but maybe not for long.
U.S. researchers have now used stem cells to grow hip cartilage implants for patients with arthritis. The stem cells are grown on a biodegradable scaffold that is perfectly molded to an individual patient’s hip joint.
But the really cool part? The cartilage also contains a special gene that is “turned on” by a specific medication. When the gene is activated, the cartilage releases anti-inflammatory molecules into the hip joint. So the implant not only replaces worn cartilage, it actually treats arthritic inflammation, reducing pain and preventing further damage to the joint. The hope is that the engineered cartilage could delay or eliminate the need for a prosthetic hip replacement.