Tissue Engineered Cartilage by Sydney Phillipo
Articular Cartilage Damage
Articular cartilage is the type of cartilage found between joints to reduce friction and act as a shock absorber . Because this cartilage gets so much wear, some deterioration is inevitable. However, excessive deterioration caused by sports injuries, overuse, birth abnormalities, or osteoarthritis can be debilitating. Because cartilage is an avascular area, blood cannot bring nutrients, enzymes, or proteins to injured cartilage. Over 6 million people visit the hospital for cartilage damage every year, and osteoarthritis, or arthritis due to the degradation of articular cartilage, affects 33% of U.S. adults 65 years of age or older . Health care costs related to cartilage damage are staggering. The total annual cost of living with osteoarthritis is $5,700/year per patient . Job-related osteoarthritis costs are estimated at $3.4-$13.2 billion/year. Additionally, hospital related costs for total knee and hip replacements are estimated at $28.5 billion/year and $13.7 billion/year each. These statistics are merely for osteoarthritis and knee/hip replacements; they do not take into consideration various arthroscopic surgeries for cartilage debridement, tear suturing, etc., signifying that he potential market for an effective engineered cartilage is large and undertapped. At the moment, we can repair cartilage but not restore it. The repairs have varying levels of efficiency and varying lifespans. The goal is to one day be able to completely regrow new cartilage that perfectly matches the patient's needs, in size and immunocompatibility.