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Medical News and Perspectives
June 9, 2004

Joint Effort: Scientists Engineer Solutions for Repairing Damaged Cartilage

JAMA. 2004;291(22):2685-2688. doi:10.1001/jama.291.22.2685

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.

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