In the ongoing search for safe, effective methods to grow new cartilage to replace damaged tissue, researchers affiliated with Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill, are trying a novel approach to regenerate tissue.
The researchers published what is believed to be the first study showing that a unique, self-assembling peptide amphiphile (PA) molecule with transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) binding epitope attached to it forms a bioactive nanofiber that promotes new cartilage growth in vivo in an animal model. The resulting cartilage contains type II collagen and is very similar to the body's own hyaline articular cartilage (Shah RN et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. doi:10.1073/pnas.0906501107 [published online ahead of print February 1, 2010]).
Voelker R. Unique Molecule May Aid Cartilage Repair. JAMA. 2010;303(13):1243. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.343