Science advances every day, whether we hear about it in the news or not. According to a company focused on medical development and research, there’s a chance younger arthritis patients won’t need a hip replacement surgery.
Thanks to an artificial cartilage that was grown in a lab, researchers believe they could either postpone or eliminate the need for young people affected by arthritis to go under the knife for a new hip.
Because the team has yet to test the new cartilage in humans, it’s too early to know about the potential side effects or the cost of the new procedure.
However, since the cartilage is only somewhat artificial – it also needs to incorporate stem cells from the patient – the researchers believe the alternative solution is promising. Also, the plastic part of the new implant is supposed to vanish over time, leaving only human tissue inside the body.
According to Bradley Estes, the lead researcher of the project, the cartilage can also fight off swelling. Estes is the vice president of R & D at Cytex Therapeutics, the company based in Durham, N.C.
“We have an implant that can functionally replace the diseased tissue, while also fighting off inflammation that could potentially destroy the new tissue,” he said in a statement.
The cartilage is designed to help younger arthritis patients who are not considered good candidates for hip replacement surgery. Many doctors decline to perform this surgery on young people because their long life expectancy stands in the way of the hip replacement lasting their lifetime.
Better treatment option for young patients
Young and active patients who are younger than 65 years old are currently in a gap of few treatment options for arthritis. Typical recommendations for patients diagnosed at an early age are analgesics, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications.
However, the underlying problem – arthritis diagnose – is wildly unaddressed, leaving the patient with almost no treatment option until they are viable for a total joint replacement.
The cartilage was created by using 3D textile technology, which is supposed to “resurface” the hip joint. Estes explained the artificial implant mimics natural cartilage, as it includes the patient’s stem cells in a mix of plastic material.
More details about the project were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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