To generate the implant, a surgeon first obtains a small sample of normal cartilage from a patient’s knee through a minimally invasive knee scope. The tissue sample is then treated and grown into a cartilage implant, which is returned to the injury site.In an effort to gain regulatory approval, the NeoCart cartilage tissue implant is currently in an FDA-approved multi-center, randomized clinical trial comparing the implant to the current standard-of-care for patients with articular cartilage defects of the knee.
Traditionally, microfracture surgery is considered the current standard of care for most cases of severe cartilage injury in the knee. Although symptoms may improve for a period of time after surgery, microfracture doesn’t create the same healthy joint cartilage required to withstand normal forces of movement.
“The hope is that embedding patients with their own cells will lead to a more durable replacement of the lost cartilage and improve patient outcomes, ” Flanigan said.