If you have bad knees and a loss of cartilage from years of abuse or improper function, your options are often limited to injections of a lubricant into the joint space which has been shown to relieve the pain for a limited amount of time or joint replacement.
Researchers at Stanford University have been able to grow new cartilage in the joints of arthritic mice. Primitive cells that can be transformed into new cartilage lie dormant at the ends of bones, the researchers reported in Nature Medicine. The cells just have to be awakened and stimulated to grow.
Technically, studying mice has often resulted in breakthroughs in humans, since many of the responses have been the same when these treatment methods are applied across species.
The next step will be to try these methods in larger animals. While this approach holds a lot of promise, approaching this without improving the mechanism that originally damaged the joint can yield less than stellar outcomes. Often, joints such as the knees which get damaged are often a consequence of body mechanics. Something as simple as foot orthotics as well as a good chiropractor can go a long way to improving how someone moves.
Read more about this interesting study
Cartilage Is Grown in the Arthritic Joints of Mice
Researchers discovered a way to awaken dormant stem cells and transform them into cartilage. If the technique works in humans, it may help ease debilitating joint pain.
By Gina Kolata Published Aug. 22, 2020
The painful knees and hips experienced by so many people with osteoarthritis result from a loss of cartilage, which serves as a sort of cushioning in the joints. It had long been thought that cartilage, once gone, cannot grow back.
Now researchers at Stanford University have grown new cartilage in the joints of arthritic mice. Primitive cells that can be transformed into new cartilage lie dormant at the ends of bones, the researchers reported in Nature Medicine. The cells just have to be awakened and stimulated to grow.
The researchers say the next step is to try to grow cartilage in larger animals, like dogs or pigs. They are optimistic that the finding could eventually lead to treatments to prevent the often debilitating pain that arises when cartilage erodes away.