Cartilage tissue has a limited capacity for self-repair. Articular cartilage injuries that are not properly treated cause pain and disability, and double the incidence of degenerative joint problems in the elderly.
Cartilage repair treatments do have the potential to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for younger patients as well as slowing down or eliminating the need for joint replacement in the older patient. But they have major drawbacks.
Common current treatment strategies such as arthroscopic debridement, microfracture, autologous osteochondral grafting, use of allografts and autologous chondrocytes implantation (ACI) and the second generation Matrix-assisted ACI (MACI) still have major drawbacks such as the need for a technically challenging operation, followed by a long and complex rehabilitation for the patient, to say nothing of the high costs.
Although good clinical results have generally been reported in short-term follow-up, many techniques show unsatisfactory results in the long term. This may be due to inferior quality of the repair tissue which cannot predictably and reproducibly restore cartilage structure and function as compared to native cartilage.
We hope to overcome these drawbacks by using a tissue engineered nasal cartilage graft which will lead to a repair tissue with comparable properties to native cartilage and thus to a more durable repair in the long-term.