Instead of using artificial implants, the technique helps in healing the bone or cartilage damage in a natural way using a person’s own cells to regain normal function. Cultured cells (grown in a lab) are injected into a patient to replace diseased or dysfunctional cells.
Damaged bone or cartilage? Now, grow your own cells in a lab
“A small part of the joint cartilage is taken through a keyhole procedure, and is grown in a special manner to convert it into stem cells in the laboratory,” says Dr Gotham “This is then applied on the area showing loss of joint cartilage.”
Those in need of joint replacement because of injury, wear and tear or other lifestyle and ageing, are also realizing that new cartilage can be grown in a lab from one’s own cells and used instead of artificial materials. Chondron or cartilage cell therapy is a patient-specific regenerative medical treatment which naturally regrows original cartilage. The therapy is used for repairing articular cartilage of the knee, ankle and shoulder joints and to help replace missing areas of cartilage.
This is a process where a biopsy of cartilage cells (chondrocytes) is taken from the patient’s knee, ankle or shoulder. They are then cultured to grow and multiply in a lab for 3-4 weeks into a surplus population of several million. The cultured cells are then re-implanted in the damaged area in a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
“These cells grow and repair tissue with properties similar to that of normal cartilage present in other joints,” says Dr. Gotham. But replacement alone doesn’t solve problems. Patients are expected to follow a rehabilitation program, to help the body adjust to new cells and them get back to day-to-day physical.”
It’s easy to see the advantages of a process like this. Experts say it may avoid the need for future prosthetic joints replacement (especially partial joint replacement) and allows patients the freedom to continue physical activities as before. It also poses less risk of disease transmission or infection since it comes from the patients’ own tissue (no foreign material or metal goes inside the body). It may also halt further progression to osteoarthritis, a common problem with those in need of joint replacement.