“Maybe this is a little bit more like Jiffy Lube, an oil change”, says Stanford researcher Dr. Michael Longaker, M.D.
Dr. Longaker and his team at Stanford believe they’ve isolated a technique that could potentially rejuvenate knee joints.
Their target is the shiny surface, known as articular cartilage. When it’s damaged, bone can rub on bone, triggering severe pain. One of the few options has been a surgical treatment known as microfracture, which triggers scarring.
“Orthopedic surgeons do these small drill holes and say whatever cell comes up in the bleeding, then each step we take will become a scar cartilage,” Dr. Longaker explains.
While it does get many patients back on the road again, he says the scar tissue, also known a fibrocartilage, lacks the cushion and durability of natural cartilage. But in a critical discovery, Stanford scientists confirmed that skeletal stem cells in bone actually have the ability to grow different materials, including bone, spongy bone, scar-cartilage, and natural cartilage.
“So all we had to do was compare these different processes and figure out how to shut down the bone and fibroblast making process, and then the