24 March 2008

For new knees – to Munich

Oleg Sablikov, "Russian Germany"

Профессор Фолькмар Янссон (Volkmar Jansson), глава ортопедической клиники в ГроссхадернеSensations in medical everyday life happen quite rarely. However, what scientists are currently working on in the laboratory of the Munich-Grosshadern University Clinic has already revolutionized the fight against arthritis and cartilage tissue damage.

"We are conducting intensive research aimed at growing new cartilage, articular tissue from the patient's own bone marrow stem cells," says Professor Volkmar Jansson, head of the orthopedic clinic in Grosshadern. The results achieved to date allow us to talk about a real sensation and a breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of arthritis of the joints, especially the knees.

As you know, the human body is not able to repair damaged and worn cartilage on its own, as it happens, for example, with blood, skin or bones. All attempts to create artificial or natural cartilage in the laboratory have ended in failures until recently.

"At the beginning of our work, in 1996, we had only a hypothesis. In it, we proceeded from the fact that it is theoretically possible to induce stem cells taken from the patient's bone marrow to produce a new cartilage layer," Professor Jansson continues his story. Practically, this operation looks like this. The damaged cartilage is drilled several millimeters deep, then a special nutrient medium is applied to the inner walls of the hole. After that, the hole is filled with tissue with stem cells. Due to constant mechanical action, the introduced stem cells diffuse into the tissue of the affected cartilage, and eventually the cartilage tissue begins to grow. Subsequently, when examining the newly formed tissue under a microscope, it was found that the new cartilage in its structure, qualities and endurance practically does not differ from the natural one.

Clinical trials of the new technique will begin in two or three months. However, doctors believe that it will take some time until such an operation to grow and engraft new cartilage tissue becomes routine in clinical practice.

Ten years ago, doctors could not provide patients with a diagnosis of "arthritis of the joints" with any effective help. Meanwhile, already today there are two practical methods of treating some cases of arthrosis, allowing patients to get rid of excruciating pain and return their former mobility to the diseased joints.

One of the techniques involves using special organic "staples" to connect cracked or torn cartilage. After the damaged tissue fuses, these "staples" disappear by themselves.

The other is the transplantation of cartilage tissue. At the same time, a tiny fragment of cartilage, no more than 2 millimeters, together with bone tissue is surgically taken from the patient. Then the future graft is placed in a nutrient medium, where it grows, and after three weeks it is implanted into the affected cartilage. Unfortunately, such an operation is only possible for patients under 55 years of age. At a later age, such treatment does not bring the desired results, since the cells of bone and cartilage tissues in the elderly are unable to grow at the right speed. In general, the service life of our joints is limited to about 40 years. Probably, initially nature did not plan that a person would be able to live longer...

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru11.03.2008

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