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Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a way to regenerate articular cartilage placed in joints. And it turned out quite effective when tested on mice with human tissue.
The recent study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.
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Using human tissue on mice
Losing articular cartilage over time or due to different reasons might end up with arthritis, as stated byStandford Medicine News Center. Simply, the tenderness of joints might cause the patient endurable pains and aches. And at some point, it is natural that people are done using excessive amounts of painkillers, which also harm the liver.
With one shot at a time, it will probably be possible for arthritis patients to say goodbye to their intense pain for good.
The researchers in fact added to an already used method called "microfracture", in which tiny holes are drilled in the joint to regenerate the cartilage tissue. However, naturally generated tissue doesn't appear as elastic as it was before and doesn't have a long way to go. As a new addition, chemical signals were used to steer the growth of skeletal stem cells.
One thing that stands out in the research is the fact that human tissue was used on mice and it worked. That is why the researchers are taking no time to move on with humans.
From smaller parts to bigger parts
“What we ended up with was cartilage that is made of the same sort of cells as natural cartilage with comparable mechanical properties, unlike the fibrocartilage that we usually get,” Charles K.F. Chan, assistant professor of surgery said. “It also restored mobility to osteoarthritic mice and significantly reduced their pain.”
As the next step, researchers plan to make similar experiments on physically larger animals as mice joints remain quite small. Hence, the current situation makes it sort of compulsory before being able to move on to humans.
Also, clinical trials with humans are expected to start on their fingers and toes, to see if it will work on them at the first stage. Moving on with the larger parts of humans will depend on how successful it would be with the small parts.