Biodegradable nanofiber microspheres show promise as a means of transporting cells to cartilage wound sites, where they can form new tissue and speed healing (Image: Peter Ma)
Cartilage wounds can be very difficult to treat. While they may eventually heal on their own, the resulting tissue often won't take the same form – or allow for the same function – as the original. Cartilage injuries are often treated with a process known as ACI (autologous chondrocyte implantation), in which a patient's own cells are injected at the wound site to form new tissue. The procedure doesn't always work, as the cells are just injected loosely, with no carrier to transport them or help them get established. Now, however, a scientist from the University of Michigan has developed a technique in which cells are delivered to wounds via injectable nanofiber spheres, and the results are said to be very promising.