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To grow new knee cartilage, look to the nose

Patches grown from nasal tissue perform well in tests in goats

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8:53am, August 28, 2014

Cartilage-making cells in the nose seem to produce a worthy stand-in for the cartilage lost at the tips of bones in damaged knee joints, a study in goats suggests.

Patches of cartilage grown from snippets of nasal tissue worked so well when implanted into the goats that a small group of people with knee injuries have now undergone the treatment with their own nasal cartilage, researchers report August 27 in Science Translational Medicine. While full results aren’t yet available, “the patients are doing extremely well,” says study coauthor Ivan Martin, a bioengineer at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

Replacing the glossy cartilage that coats the ends of bones called hyaline cartilage has been an elusive goal with a long learning curve. The trick is to get cartilage-making cells called chondrocytes to grow replacement patches. Cartilage generated from joint chondrocytes

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