Posted on Oct 09, 2014, 6 a.m.
Cells taken from the nasal septum adapt to the environment of the knee joint and can thus repair articular cartilage defects.
Cartilage lesions in joints often appear in older people as a result of degenerative processes, and the standard treatment is complicated surgery with extended rehabilitation. Karoliina Pelttari, from the University of Basel (Switzerland), and colleagues have engineered cells of the nasal septum (nasal chondrocytes) to replace cartilage cells in knee joints. In an ongoing clinical study, the researchers have so far taken small biopsies (6 millimeters in diameter) from the nasal septum from seven out of 25 patients below the age of 55 years and then isolated the cartilage cells. They cultured and multiplied the cells and then applied them to a scaffold in order to engineer a cartilage graft the size of 30 x 40 millimeters. A few weeks later they removed the damaged cartilage tissue of the patients' knees and replaced it with the engineered and tailored tissue from the nose. The study authors write of: “the safety and feasibility of autologous [nasal chondrocytes]-based engineered tissues for the treatment of traumatic articular cartilage lesions."
Karoliina Pelttari, Benjamin Pippenger, Marcus Mumme, Sandra Feliciano, Celeste Scotti, Pierre Mainil-Varlet, et al. “Adult human neural crest-derived cells for articular cartilage repair.” Sci Transl Med. 2014 Aug 27;6(251):251ra119.