Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Therapies Centre Versus Arthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis, other surgical techniques

Lead applicant - Professor Andrew McCaskie

Organisation - University of Cambridge

Type of grant - Centre of Excellence Full

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £1,999,240.58

Start date - 4 April 2016

Reference - 21156

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

The Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Therapies Centre Versus Arthritis, originally launched in 2011 and has been renewed for a further 5 years. The mission of the centre is to regenerate fully functional and pain-free joints, using tissue engineering and regenerative treatments in key-hole surgery. By bringing together leading academic clinicians in the UK with leading scientists in subjects such as engineering, biology and material science, they aim to answer the following questions over the next 5 years:

  1. How can we make consistent and effective tissue engineering and regenerative products?
  2. How could we make these products available off-the shelf?
  3. How can we make these products easy to administer to patients?

Why is this research important?

Osteoarthritis is one of the fastest growing health problems affecting over 8 million people in the UK. During the condition cartilage, which normally allows pain free movement of the joints, becomes degraded leading to pain and disability. Patients can have difficulty walking and sleeping due to the pain. In advanced osteoarthritis the damage caused by the disease can lead to a need for joints to be replaced with artificial ones. However, this involves major surgery, and although largely positive, outcomes of joint replacement can be variable. Therefore, new treatments are needed that are less invasive, such as key hole surgery, to repair and regenerate the patient’s own joint. This could be used at an earlier stage of the disease and would delay or replace the need for joint replacement. The researchers also want to find out if they can combine this approach with the use of stem cells (cells that have the potential to develop into many different cell types) to enhance treatments for osteoarthritis.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The overriding aim of this centre is to make regenerative treatments easily affordable, easy to apply and deliverable without the need for general anaesthetic. This will ensure easy patient access across many healthcare systems, without the need for specialist centres.