Why stem cells are desired as a knee replacement alternative…

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Why stem cells are desired as a knee replacement alternative…


In a recent editorial, Mahaptra and Khan reported
the frequent outcome for osteoarthritis in large joints such as the knee is surgical
intervention for joint replacement. A joint replacement tends
to be successful in older sedentary patients but the limited
lifetime of prostheses makes it much less desirable for
younger and more active patients. The numbers of
primary and revision total knee replacements are projected to
increase six-fold by 2030 and this is the driving force
behind numerous ongoing efforts to develop new cell-based
strategies for the treatment of focal cartilage defects to
prevent secondary osteoarthritis. Current options for the
repair of focal cartilage lesions include abrasive
chondroplasty, subchondral drilling and microfracture. These
result in the formation of fibrocartilage rather than the
desired hyaline cartilage, with inferior mechanical and
hydroelastic characteristics. Autologous Chondrocyte
Implantation is a cell-based strategy currently in clinical
practice. Although short-term clinical results have
been good, evidence suggests formation of fibrocartilage and
progression of degenerative changes in the joint. Tissue
engineering applications using mesenchymal stem cells
present an interesting new approach for the repair of
articular cartilage defects.
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