Cartilage Regeneration Versus Arthritis
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EurekAlert! notes that researchers have "successfully identified stem cells within articular cartilage of adults, which although it cannot become any cell in the body like full stem cells, has the ability to derive into chondrocytes - the cells that make up the body's cartilage - in high enough numbers to make treatment a realistic possibility. The team have even been able to identify the cells in people over 75 years of age. Osteoarthritis [occurs] when changes in the make up of the body's cartilage causes joints to fail to work properly. At its worse it can cause the break up of cartilage, causing the ends of the bones in the joint to rub against each other. This results in severe pain and deformation of the joint. One current treatment to treat damaged cartilage due to trauma in younger patients is to harvest cartilage cells from neighbouring healthy cartilage and transplant them into the damaged area. Unfortunately, only a limited number of cells can be generated. ... We have identified a cell which when grown in the lab can produce enough of a person's own cartilage that it could be effectively transplanted. There are limitations in trying to transplant a patient's existing cartilage cells but by culturing it from a resident stem cell we believe we can overcome this limitation."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-04/babs-sco040908.php

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