Cartilage Injuries

Scientists engaged in research at Northwester University believe a recent discovery allows joints to grow cartilage.

Despite the fact that the human body is a complicated, flexible and durable structure, many individuals incurring cartilage injuries during adulthood, painfully comprehend that this is one area of the body that fails to regenerate. However, scientists engaged in research at Northwester University believe a recent discovery allows joints to grow cartilage through the creation and advancement of a nanogel that stimulates bones marrow cells to facilitate this particular tissue growth.

The protein contained within the smooth cartilage that encapsulates the end of bones and builds joint connections is comprised of type II collagen. Researchers successfully developed a similar substance in the form of a bioactive nanogel. Following minimally invasive injections, the gel becomes a fibrous, but solid extracellular medium, similar to cells viewed during natural cartilage growth. The substance unites with specific key growth factors promoting regeneration and maintains a localized area. Stimulated bone marrow stem cells then naturally initiate type II collagen production. The nanogel medium serves as a nutrient through a slow process of deterioration while cartilage progressively builds. Eventually, naturally grown tissue completely replaces the nanogel matrix.

Though currently successful when implemented in animal testing, further testing and trials inhibit the substance’s use in humans for at least a few years. The timing of the discovery could not have arrived at a more opportune time as numerous Baby Boomers face the prospect of aging along with cartilage and joint degeneration. The ability for the body to manufacture its own cartilage encourages the possibility of increased physical activity for hundreds of thousands of adults.

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