Developing and evaluating the use of cell implantation therapy for the repair of cartilage in osteoarthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis, knee pain

Lead applicant - Professor Sally Roberts

Organisation - Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic & District Hospitals Trust

Type of grant - Programme

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £484,207

Start date - 4 January 2010

Reference - 18480

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

We aim to examine in detail the existing therapies that use a patient’s own cells to repair damaged joint tissues, so that the current techniques can be improved and extended to treat many more patients with more severe musculoskeletal disease.

Why is this research important?

Joint replacement is highly effective for many patients with bone and joint disease, but the limited lifespan of most artificial prostheses makes this a less than ideal solution for our ageing and active population. We and many other research groups have explored the potential of repair of lost bone and cartilage with new tissue that has been grown, or ‘engineered’ in the laboratory from the patient’s own cells. We have been using cell therapy to treat patients with limited damage to the cartilage in their knee joints for over 10 years, but recognise that in order to extend these very successful techniques to patients with more severely damaged joints, we need to make them as effective and efficient as possible.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Our centre is unusual in Britain in its capacity to take these often still laboratory based procedures through to clinical treatment in patients. By examining in detail information we have gathered on over 400 patients and carrying out new research, we plan to find ways of improving existing techniques, as well as devising new ones, to make this approach to joint repair available to many more people.