A new procedure to regenerate the knee meniscus—a tissue lining that acts as a natural cushion between femur and tibia—uses 3D printing and the body’s own stem cells. People with damaged menisci develop arthritis and are forced to limit their activity.
The procedure, published online in Science Translational Medicine, has proved successful in sheep at Cornell University six months after surgery, though the researchers will monitor the sheep for a year to ensure the animals do not develop arthritis.
Sheep menisci are structurally similar to those of humans, and clinical trials in humans could begin in two to three years.
“Most middle-aged people who end up with a degenerate meniscus have it trimmed up [surgically], but if you lose more than 20 to 30 percent, then you are very prone to arthritis,” says Lisa Fortier, professor of large animal surgery at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a coauthor of the paper; she led the meniscus surgeries on sheep. … (read more)