Boston—Called on to withstand a lifetime
of physical stress, joints often break down. All too frequently, articular
cartilage is damaged or wears away, particularly in such weight-bearing joints
as the knees and hips.
New approaches to repair diseased or damaged joints are beginning to
emerge from tissue engineering, a field populated by an interdisciplinary
network of scientists, physicians, and engineers who are developing techniques
for producing new and healthy cartilage, bone, and other tissues for the purpose
of restoring diseased or damaged tissue. This research is not only improving
understanding of how cartilage functions, said researchers at the Knowledge
Foundation's Fourth International Conference on Tissue Engineering for Bone
and Cartilage held here in April, it is also yielding new strategies to prevent,
delay, and reverse cartilage degeneration.
Friedrich MJ. Joint Effort: Scientists Engineer Solutions for Repairing Damaged Cartilage. JAMA. 2004;291(22):2685-2688. doi:10.1001/jama.291.22.2685