Personalized diagnostic assay for the treatment of knee injuries

December 5, 2017, Brandenburg University

An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Volume 242, Issue 18, December 2017) describes a new approach for profiling patients with joint injuries. The study, led by Dr. Ursula Anderer, Professor for Cell Biology and Head of the Department Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering at Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany, demonstrates that a microtissue culture assay can be used to identify patients that will benefit from cell-based therapies.

Trauma- and osteoarthritis-related joint injuries are rising due to increases in life expectancy and the number of individuals participating in sports-related activities. A central event in joint injuries is damage to or loss of cartilage, the strong elastic tissue in joints that absorbs shock and allows bones to smoothly glide past each other. Because the ability of cartilage to self-repair is limited, treatment options include replacing the damaged tissue with artificial cartilage or transplanting cells, chondrocytes, that can generate new cartilage. While using a patient's own cells (autologous transplantation) has the fewest side effects, this approach does not always produce functional cartilage. A personalized diagnostic tool that can predict the ability of a patient's cells to form functional cartilage would improve outcomes for with joint injuries.

In the current study, Dr. Anderer and colleagues used a three-dimensional (3-D) cell culture technique to assess the ability of cartilage cells isolated from human donors to form cartilage. Previous studies have demonstrated that chondrocytes grown as a monolayer using standard two-dimensional (2-D) cell culture techniques do not retain the characteristics associated with mature chondrocytes. In contrast, chondrocytes grown in a more physiological 3-D environment that promotes organization into a tissue, resemble mature chondrocytes.

All of the donor examined in this study exhibited an identical chondrocyte profile in 2-D culture. However, there were clear differences in chondrogenic potential among individual donors in 3-D microtissues. These findings suggest that this 3-D assay may be a suitable personalized diagnostic tool for identifying patients that will benefit from autologous cell-based therapy.

Dr. Anderer said, "Choosing a cell culture system which is as close as possible to the natural tissue situation made it possible to identify personalized tissue forming properties in vitro. This individualized characterization of the potency of will be the basis for a patient profile by identification of specific intrinsic markers (biomarkers) to classify these patients."

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology & Medicine, said, "Anderer and colleagues have provided a 3-D microtissue in vitro model platform that they demonstrate to be of value in predicting the personalized therapeutic value of autologous cell-based cartilage repair. This could be a valuable step towards regenerative medicine for traumatic or degenerative defects of ."

Explore further: Researchers seek to improve techniques for joint defect treatment

More information: Frank Martin et al. Featured Article: In vitro development of personalized cartilage microtissues uncovers an individualized differentiation capacity of human chondrocytes, Experimental Biology and Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1177/1535370217728498

Related Stories

Researchers seek to improve techniques for joint defect treatment

September 25, 2017
Different surface topographies and materials provide interesting ways to study cell behaviour and potentially provide novel solutions for treating joint defects. Tissue engineering methods that simulate native cartilage could ...

Researchers engineer 3-D hydrogels for tissue-specific cartilage repair

July 26, 2017
Unlike the one-size-fits-all, homogeneous approach to tissue engineering for cartilage replacement, a new study reports the ability to encapsulate cartilage-forming chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells in 3D hydrogels ...

Chemical stimuli can support growing of stable cartilage cells

May 11, 2017
Cell-based therapies could offer a way to treat cartilage injuries before the ultimate damage of osteoarthritis on articular cartilage. Cartilage-derived chondrocytes can be used for cartilage repair, but the expanded cells ...

Knee cartilage product approved to repair defects

December 14, 2016
(HealthDay)—Maci (autologous cultured chondrocytes) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to repair defective cartilage of the knee.

Scaffold-free iPS cell-based hyaline cartilage for joint repair

February 26, 2015
Cranky knees and other joint pains are normal in the elderly and sometimes even in the young. While these pains are rarely life threatening, those who have them know the burden and effect on quality of life. In many cases, ...

Recommended for you

Osteoarthritis could be treated as two diseases, scientists reveal

January 10, 2018
Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered that most people with osteoarthritis can be subdivided into two distinct disease groups, with implications for diagnosis and drug development.

US arthritis prevalence is much higher than current estimates

November 27, 2017
New research indicates that the prevalence of arthritis in the United States has been substantially underestimated, especially among adults

Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis

November 20, 2017
Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered.

Old World monkeys could be key to a new, powerful rheumatoid arthritis therapy

November 16, 2017
In the quest for a new and more effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC looked to a primate that mostly roams the land in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was ...

Study lists foods for fighting rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and progression

November 8, 2017
A list of food items with proven beneficial effects on the progression and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is provided in a new study published today in Frontiers in Nutrition. The authors suggest incorporating these foods ...

Prototype equipment can detect rheumatoid arthritis

September 28, 2017
According to a first clinical study published in the scientific journal Photoacoustics, the University of Twente and various European partners have designed a device that shows the difference between healthy fingers and arthritic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.