Efforts to use patients’ own healthy articular cartilage cells from a healthy joint to repair damaged knee tissue haven’t been able to reliably restore function over the long term, the researchers argue.
“In my eyes, the major advantage (of the experimental procedure using nasal tissue) is that there is no need to obtain cartilage from within a healthy joint,” says Dr. Nicole Rotter of Ulm University Medical Center in Germany, author of an accompanying editorial.
“Potential harms include side effects to the new donor site, the nose, such as deformities of the nose and functional problems such as nasal obstruction,” Rotter adds by email. “These negative side effects can be avoided with an appropriate surgical technique to obtain the biopsy, meaning this is a surgery that should be done by a person with expertise in nasal surgery such as an otorhinolaryngologist.”
Beyond that, more research is needed to see how this procedure works in the knee joint over a longer period of time, Rotter adds.
“Long term stability and integrity need to be investigated, as a potential risk could be that these transplants are not stable in the long run,” Rotter says.
- Mumme M, Barbero A, Miot S, et al. Nasal chondrocyte-based engineered autologous cartilage tissue for repair of articular cartilage defects: an observational first-in-human trial. The Lancet. 22 Oct 2016. 388(10055):1985–1994.
- Rotteremail N, Brenner RE. Cartilage repair across germ layer origins. The Lancet. 2016 Oct 22. 388(10055):1957–1958.