The Science

Established cell based therapies for cartilage repair still have major drawbacks and the only currently available ATMPs on the market have not demonstrated superiority of clinical efficacy

Cartilage tissues engineered from nasal chondrocytes display features of hyaline cartilage due to redifferentiated chondrocytes embedded in their own extracellular matrix and higher mechanical properties than cell-seeded scaffolds

Due to their higher proliferation rate and more reproducible chondrogenic capacity as well as the easy harvesting associated with minimal donor-site-morbidity, nasal chondrocytes represent a better cell source for cartilage graft engineering than articular chondrocytes

From our Phase I trial (Nose2Knee) we have concluded that engineered autologous nasal cartilage tissues can be safely used in clinical applications to replace native cartilage grafts

While a tissue therapy is safe for use in patients we need to prove its efficacy as compared to the corresponding cell-based therapy using the same cell source

The design of the proposed prospective and randomized clinical trial allows direct comparison of the clinical efficacy between cell- and tissue-therapy, eliminating differences due to the cell source, and thus shedding light on the possible role of graft maturation on the clinical outcome in different clinical settings

BIO-CHIP will use a more reliable cell source and engineer a tissue displaying higher stability, better resistance to mechanical and inflammatory stress and redifferentiated chondrocytes at the time of implantation

Within BIO-CHIP we will assess high quality nasal chondrocyte-based cartilage grafts for the treatment of articular cartilage defects (cell- and tissue therapy) as opposed to current cell-based treatments relying on highly variable articular chondrocytes

BIO-CHIP will implant a functional, more mature tissue resembling hyaline cartilage as opposed to the current immature cell seeded scaffolds. Shorter rehabilitation times, faster return of the patient to daily life activities and superior quality of repair tissue are expected

The approach of scientific understanding beyond clinical outcome is new in the field and will contribute to distinct scientific and clinical progress in the field of cartilage repair by understanding the essential properties of the grafts and their correlation to the clinical outcome

The regeneration of a physiological, hyaline-like cartilage, as opposed to a less mechanically functional fibrocartilaginous tissue, is expected to delay or eliminate the need of a prosthetic implant

The largest clinical need in articular cartilage repair is related to degenerative as opposed to fresh, traumatic injuries