It has been said that ageing is paying for a crime you did not commit! Our joints are lined with cartilage, and bear the mechanical stresses as we move or run around from day to day. Cartilage takes a long time to heal, and if a small injury is inflicted, the cartilage may be progressively worn down before it has a chance to adequately repair itself. Ultimately, the underlying bone becomes damaged, and the joint undergoes degenerative arthritis in a condition called Osteoarthritis. Arthritis can also occur in inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Cord Lining Stem Cells have been successfully differentiated into bone cells (osteocytes) and cartilage cells (chondrocytes). It is our hope that one day these cells may be directly transplanted to affected areas to replace the damaged bone and cartilage in arthritic conditions.
Our collaborators Dr Martin J. Stoddart and Professor Mauro Alini at the AO Research Institute in Davos, Switzerland are working to fine-hone Cord Lining Stem Cell differentiation into osteocytes and chondrocytes, and Professor James Richardson at Keele University in Staffordshire, England is researching clinical transplant applications for cartilage repair. The FBM Regenerative Biology and Medicine JSC in Hanoi, Vietnam is also researching Cord Lining Stem Cells for cartilage repair and replacement.
Future applications include the integration of Cord Lining Stem Cells into synthetic bone grafts (used to fill bone defects after loss from tumour or trauma) to optimise synthetic bone graft take. This will reduce or even remove the need for painful bone graft harvest from other parts of the body.