JOINT HEALTH: Study grows new cartilage in joints of arthritic mice
September 15, 2020 • 1 min read
-- Researchers discover a way to awaken dormant stem cells and transform them into cartilage
New hope for people with osteoarthritis: researchers at Stanford University have grown new cartilage in the joints of arthritic mice.
The discovery could eventually lead to treatments for people who are crippled with pain that arises when cartilage wears away.
Researchers transplanted human bone into mice that had knee arthritis so severe they had trouble walking. After the transplant mice grew new cartilage and stopped limping and grimacing (yes, mice are known to have facial expressions).
The results counter the popular assumption that cartilage, once lost, does not return.
Cartilage that grew in the mice not only looked normal but lasted for four months – a quarter of the animals’ lifetimes.
Researchers envision a time when doctors will be able to “resurface” arthritic joints or, better, treat people who are just beginning to develop arthritis, perhaps staving off the sort of damage that even joint replacements cannot fix.
An estimated 50 million Americans have osteoarthritis; the lifetime risk of getting the diagnosis is 40 percent.