Cartilage is a basic tissue that ensures the fluidity of joint movements. However, it is fragile and can deteriorate over time, age, or after trauma. Their deterioration can not only cause pain, but also reduce the function of the joints, especially the knee or hip, and possibly lead to diseases, such as arthritis. problem : Cartilage does not repair itself. said Dr. Hongbin Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Joint damage: a gel made of more resistant proteins
This is why he and his team developed a biodegradable gel that promotes cartilage regeneration. This gel combines firm, hard, elastic and supple properties, which is essential for effective cartilage repair. The researchers were able to intertwine the protein chains that make up the gel, giving it compressive strength, allowing it to resist scalpel cuts and to be more rigid than other protein hydrogels in existence. “These interlocking chains can move, allowing energy to dissipate, for example the impact of a jump, just like shock absorbers on bicycles,” The Canadian professor explained.
Signs of meniscus repair 12 weeks after transplantation
When implanted in rabbits, the gel showed encouraging results, which were published in the journal nature. After 12 weeks, the scientists observed a remarkable regeneration of the articular cartilage in the young mammals. In addition, growth of bone tissue similar to the existing tissue as well as regenerated tissue was observed near the existing cartilage of the gel-implanted group.
The team reported that the stiffer version of the gel had better performance than the softer version, likely because the higher stiffness is more compatible with bone and cartilage tissue, and thus provides a signal body to the body for effective regeneration.
While these results are promising, more testing is needed before human trials can be considered. in statementNext steps, the researchers said, include these tests, purification of the existing gel formulation, and the addition of additional biochemical signals to promote cell regeneration. “By improving both biochemical and biomechanical indicators, we will see in the future whether these new implants can lead to better outcomes.” Dr. Hong Bin Lee concluded.