Ask any doctor or arthritic patient and they will agree with you that if extensive surgery could be avoided during the treatment and replacement of worn, arthritic hips then that is a very great idea! This is exactly what some medical research scientists in the US are hoping to achieve.
According to sources at the School of Medicine in Washington University, researchers have been able to program stem cells to regrow worn cartilage on a 3D template shaped like a typical hip joint ball. In addition, they were able to use gene therapy to activate this new cartilage to secrete anti-inflammatory molecules that function to protect the joint from a recurrence of arthritis.
If fully proved to be a viable solution, then this will certainly prove to be a medical breakthrough in the treatment and control of arthritis and other joint ailments.
The researchers’ technique, which was demonstrated in a joint effort program conducted between the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri and Cytex Therapeutics Inc. in Durham, North Carolina, was first described during the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on July 18 th 2016.
The revolutionary technique makes use of some of the latest and most advanced 3D weaving technologies to grow a living hip replacement using a biodegradable synthetic scaffold developed by the research scientists.
This discovery could one day provide a better alternative to the current hip replacement surgery procedure, more so in younger arthritic patients. Normally, doctors rarely recommend such an operation for a patient below the age of 50 since prosthetic joints often last less than 20 years. For a person below 50 years, that would mean that he/she would most likely need to undergo another joint replacement surgery during their lifetime. The process of removing and replacing a worn prosthetic is very complex and could destroy the patient’s bone and put them at a very high risk for further infection.
According to Professor Farshid Guilak, an orthopedic surgery expert at Washington University, his team’s hope with this research is that a standard metal and plastic prosthetic joint replacement surgery could be prevented, or at least delayed using this new technique.