Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineers make strides toward artificial cartilage

Date:
December 13, 2013
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
A research team has developed a better recipe for synthetic replacement cartilage in joints, calling for a newly designed durable hydrogel to be poured over a three-dimensional fabric "scaffold."

Tiny interwoven fibers make up the three-dimensional fabric “scaffold” into which a strong, pliable hydrogel is integrated and injected with stem cells, forming a framework for growing cartilage. This image appears on the cover of the Dec. 17, 2013, issue of Advanced Functional Materials.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Frank Moutos and Farshid Guilak

A Duke research team has developed a better recipe for synthetic replacement cartilage in joints.

Related Articles


Combining two innovative technologies they each helped develop, lead authors Farshid Guilak, a professor of orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering, and Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, found a way to create artificial replacement tissue that mimics both the strength and suppleness of native cartilage. Their results appear Dec. 17 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Articular cartilage is the tissue on the ends of bones where they meet at joints in the body -- including in the knees, shoulders and hips. It can erode over time or be damaged by injury or overuse, causing pain and lack of mobility. While replacing the tissue could bring relief to millions, replicating the properties of native cartilage -- which is strong and load-bearing, yet smooth and cushiony -- has proven a challenge.

In 2007 Guilak and his team developed a three-dimensional fabric "scaffold" into which stem cells could be injected and successfully "grown" into articular cartilage tissue. Constructed of minuscule woven fibers, each of the scaffold's seven layers is about as thick as a human hair. The finished product is about 1 millimeter thick.

Since then, the challenge has been to develop the right medium to fill the empty spaces of the scaffold -- one that can sustain compressive loads, provide a lubricating surface and potentially support the growth of stem cells on the scaffold. Materials supple enough to simulate native cartilage have been too squishy and fragile to grow in a joint and withstand loading. "Think Jell-O," says Guilak. Stronger substances, on the other hand, haven't been smooth and flexible enough.

That's where the partnership with Zhao comes in.

Zhao proposed a theory for the design of durable hydrogels (water-based polymer gels) and in 2012 collaborated with a team from Harvard University to develop an exceptionally strong yet pliable interpenetrating-network hydrogel.

"It's extremely tough, flexible and formable, yet highly lubricating," Zhao says. "It has all the mechanical properties of native cartilage and can withstand wear and tear without fracturing."

He and Guilak began working together to integrate the hydrogel into the fabric of the 3-D woven scaffolds in a process Zhao compares to pouring concrete over a steel framework.

In their experiments, the researchers compared the resulting composite material to other combinations of Guilak's scaffolding embedded with previously studied hydrogels. The tests showed that Zhao's invention was tougher than the competition with a lower coefficient of friction. And though the resulting material did not quite meet the standards of natural cartilage, it easily outperformed all other known potential artificial replacements across the board, including the hydrogel and scaffolding by themselves.

"From a mechanical standpoint, this technology remedies the issues that other types of synthetic cartilage have had," says Zhao, founder of Duke's Soft Active Materials (SAMs) Laboratory. "It's a very promising candidate for artificial cartilage in the future."

The team's next step will likely be to implant small patches of the synthetic cartilage in animal models, according to Guilak and Zhao.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. The original article was written by Jeni Baker. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I-Chien Liao, Franklin T. Moutos, Bradley T. Estes, Xuanhe Zhao, Farshid Guilak. Composite Three-Dimensional Woven Scaffolds with Interpenetrating Network Hydrogels to Create Functional Synthetic Articular Cartilage. Advanced Functional Materials, 2013; 23 (47): 5833 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201300483

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Engineers make strides toward artificial cartilage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135518.htm>.
Duke University. (2013, December 13). Engineers make strides toward artificial cartilage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135518.htm
Duke University. "Engineers make strides toward artificial cartilage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135518.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins