Complete joint replacement, while highly successful, is major surgery with rigorous and often painful therapy regimens and lengthy recovery time. Driven by the need to develop more effective therapies requiring less recovery time for common joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, an international team including NIBIB-funded researchers has developed an integrated two-part scaffold for implantation into damaged joints — with cartilage scaffold made from silk, and bone scaffold made from ceramics. This combination of materials mimics the cartilage and bone of natural joints in both mechanical strength and pore structure. It also allows stem cells to successfully populate the graft and differentiate into cartilage and bone cells. The cells fill the damaged areas to reconstitute the original structure of the joint, after which the scaffold biodegrades, leaving the smooth surface required for a pain-free, functioning interface. The scaffold is a significant step towards improved and lasting treatment of common and often debilitating joint injuries.
“It’s a challenging problem to tackle,” says Rosemarie Hunziker, Ph.D., NIBIB Director for the Program for Tissue Engineering. “One of the big problems in cartilage tissue engineering is that the cartilage does not integrate well with host tissue after implantation, so the graft doesn’t ‘take.’ In this new approach there is a greater chance of success because the materials have architectures and physical properties that more closely resemble the native tissue.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Rosemarie Hunziker, Ph.D., TIssue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine and Biomaterials Program Director, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Hunziker was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows In recognition of her service as a NIBIB Program Official who has championed applications of biomedical engineering both in and out of NIH.