- Advertisement -spot_img
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Scientists regenerate knee cartilage with electric current

Electric knee implants could be the answer for millions of arthritis patients as scientists have been able to regrow cartilage with the help of electric currents.

Bioengineers in Connecticut have developed a tiny mesh implant about half a millimeter thick that, when pressure is sensed, generates tiny electric currents – a property known as piezoelectricity.

For arthritis patients with implants, regular joint movement will cause the implant to generate an electric field that encourages cells to colonize it and grow into new cartilage.

Arthritis is a common and painful disease that damages a person’s joints. Usually pads of cartilage cushion those spots, but injury or age can make it go away.

As cartilage deteriorates, bone begins to collide with bone, and everyday activities such as walking can cause terrible pain, so the development of new cartilage is important to make the condition less painful.

In experiments, scientists successfully retrieved cartilage in a rabbit’s knee, which could pave the way for humans with arthritis to heal the joint.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the inner surface of a joint becomes damaged. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears out over time. For arthritis sufferers with implants, regular joint movement will cause the implant to generate an electric field that encourages cells to colonize it and grow into new cartilage.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the inner surface of a joint becomes damaged.

It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears out over time.

Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, this disorder most commonly affects the joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be managed, although joint damage cannot be reversed.

About a third of people aged 45 and over in the UK suffer from the condition. This equates to about 8.75 million people. There are at least 20 million victims in the US.

Osteoarthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term disease in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself, leading to painful and stiff joints.

The research is led by Than Nguyen, a bioengineer at the University of Connecticut who says he is cautious about stepping up to experiments in humans.

“This is a fascinating result, but we need to test it in a larger animal, whose size and weight are close to that of a human,” Nguyen said.

If the technology passes clinical trials, it could reduce pain for people with osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting around 9 million people.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.

Currently, the best treatments replace the damaged cartilage with a healthy piece taken from elsewhere in the body, sometimes from a donor.

But if this healthy cartilage is your own, transplanting it can result in injury at the site it was taken from. Plus, if it’s from someone else, your immune system may reject it.

Previously, to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, some researchers have tried to increase chemical growth factors to prompt the body to grow cartilage on its own.

Other efforts have relied on bioengineered scaffolds to give the body a template for fresh tissue.

But according to Nguyen, none of these approaches work as well in combination.

What is piezoelectricity?

The ability of a material to generate electricity by applying pressure is called piezoelectricity.

Stretching or compressing a material causes it to generate an electrical voltage (or conversely, an applied voltage causes it to expand or contract).

Piezoelectricity is used in electrical equipment such as weaving and braille machinery, video cameras and phones.

‘Regenerated cartilage does not behave like native cartilage. It breaks, under normal stress of the joint,’ he said.

So, Nguyen’s lab designed a tissue scaffold made from nanofibers of poly-L lactic acid (PLLA), a biodegradable polymer often used to stitch up surgical wounds.

When it is squeezed, it produces a short burst of electric current – ​​demonstrating piezoelectricity.

Lead author Dr Yang Liu at the University of Connecticut said, ‘Piezoelectricity is a phenomenon that is also present in the human body.

‘Bone, cartilage, collagen, DNA and various proteins have a piezoelectric reaction.’

Regular movement of a joint, such as a person walking, can cause the scaffold to generate a weak but steady electric field that encourages cells to colonize it and develop into cartilage.

No external growth factors or stem cells (which are potentially toxic or risk unwanted adverse events) are necessary, and importantly, the cartilage that grows is mechanically stronger.

When the team recently tested the scaffold in the knee of their injured rabbit, he was allowed to jump on a treadmill to exercise after the scaffold was installed. As anticipated, the cartilage grew back to normal.

Nguyen’s lab wants to observe the treated animals for at least a year, maybe two, to make sure the cartilage is durable.

They also want to test PLLA scaffolds in older animals, as arthritis primarily affects humans in old age.

According to the NHS, osteoarthritis most often develops in people in their 40s or older, and is more common in women and people with a family history of the condition.

The study is published in the new issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Thousands of arthritis patients benefit from new arthritis drugs available on NHS

Around 25,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients will benefit from new drugs approved for use on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) gave the green light to several drugs for people with moderate forms of the disease that have not responded to conventional treatments.

The drugs taken with methotrexate for use in the NHS are adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab.

Dr Natalie Carter of Arthritis Versus Arthritis said these drugs will be able to ‘enable thousands more people to benefit from these treatments’.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints and affects approximately 400,000 people.

Newer treatments have only been recommended when intensive therapy with two or more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs has not controlled the disease.

During the NICE review, one drug – abatacept with methotrexate – was not considered a cost-effective treatment for moderate disease.

Meinert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Center for Health Technology Evaluation in Nice, said: ‘I am pleased that we are able to recommend additional treatment options for people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis whose disease has not responded to conventional treatment. .

‘These recommendations come after a practical review of existing guidance in response to the availability of biosimilars in the NHS.

‘We are pleased that the introduction of biosimilars has reduced the overall cost of treatment, allowing our independent committee to recommend biologic treatments for more people with rheumatoid arthritis so that they can enjoy a better quality of life.’


World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
Latest news
Related news
- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here