This news release from the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College in England may offer new hope for procedures such as hip replacements in the future.
London - November 16, 2005
Scientists from Imperial College have successfully converted human embryonic stem cells into cartilage cells, giving hope that replacement cartilage could one day be grown for transplantation.
Cartilage is the dense connective tissue usually found between bones to allow the smooth movement of joints.
Research to be published in Tissue Engineering shows how the Imperial team directed embryonic stem cells to become cartilage cells. This could allow doctors to grow cartilage for tranplantation for a number of injuries and medical problems, including sports injuries, new cartilage for people having hip replacements, and even for cosmetic surgery.
Dr Archana Vats, from Imperial College and first author of the paper, said, "The ability to grow cartilage using stem cells could have enormous implications for a number of medical problems. With the UK's increasing ageing population there will be an inevitable increase in problems created by people living longer. Although doctors have been able to carry out joint replacements for a number of years, it has not been possible to replace the worn out cartilage. By replacing the cartilage it may be possible to avoid the need for a joint replacement for some time."