A Joint Venture

Researchers regenerate shoulder joint surfaces using a patient's own cells

January 5, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) A team of researchers at the University of Missouri have successfully regenerated complete shoulder joint surfaces using a patient’s own cells.

Painful joints in the knees, hips and shoulders that cause mobility problems can often be replaced with state-of-the-art metal or ceramic implants, but doctors were recently able to demonstrate the potential for successfully regenerating joint surfaces using a patient’s cells. A University of Missouri research team has created the biological joints in animals and believe biological joint replacements are on the horizon for humans.

James Cook, a researcher in the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery, led the team that created new cartilage in animals by means of a biological “scaffold” in joints. Cook, who helped design the implants, performed the surgeries to implant the biological joint replacements in animals.

The scaffold -- which is infused with a growth factor that influences cells to transform into cartilage and bone cells -- was implanted in rabbits based on a shoulder-replacement surgery technique in humans.

Cook said the device was designed with biological and mechanical factors in mind and noted this was the first time researchers have seen cartilage regeneration using this particular type of scaffold.

Cook added that if researchers continue to prove the safety and efficacy of the technology, then the FDA may approve the technique in human research.

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Review Date: 
January 6, 2011
Last Updated:
January 6, 2011