MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Ivan Martin, PhD
Department of Surgery and Department of Biomedicine
University Hospital Basel
University of Basel
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study and new use of autologous nasal chondrocytes?
Response: We previously demonstrated that nasal chondrocytes, harvested from the nasal septum, have a larger and more reproducible capacity to form new cartilage than articular chondrocytes, harvested from the knee joint. We further established that the cartilage tissue generated by nasal chondrocytes can respond to physical forces (mechanical loads) similar to articular cartilage and has the ‘plasticity’ to adapt to a joint environment, since it efficiently integrated with surrounding articular cartilage when implanted in goat joints. This was the rationale for using nasal chondrocytes for articular cartilage repair.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The main finding of the study, testing for the first time the use of nasal chondrocytes in patients’ knees, is that the treatment is safe and feasible. Moreover, results indicate that the tissue being formed at the patients’ repair site improves in composition over time, getting more and more similar to healthy cartilage. Patients’ satisfaction was also on average improving over time.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The take home message is that we have developed a new promising approach to the treatment of articular cartilage injuries. Before this can be offered to patients as a standard treatment, obviously it needs to be tested in larger patient cohorts and in randomized and controlled trials with long-term assessment of clinical outcome.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Beyond the need to carry out such randomized and controlled trials with long-term assessment of clinical outcome, further research should aim at exploring the possibility to apply the treatment also for degenerative pathologies, starting from the early onset of osteoarthritic conditions. Extension of the treatment to these indications is currently being investigated in pre-clinical models in sheep, but the validation of the biological and pre-clinical basis to allow a first treatment in patients will still take a long time.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: It may be worth mentioning that the EU has granted funding of a phase II study based on the published approach, which is coordinated by the group in Basel and will involve 4 clinical centers (Germany, Croatia and Italy beyond Switzerland), for the treatment of a total of 108 patients. The first patient is expected to be enrolled in the study by the end of 2016.
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Nasal chondrocyte-based engineered autologous cartilage tissue for repair of articular cartilage defects: an observational first-in-human trial
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