ISHPEMING — About thirty hospitals across the country are now participating in a clinic trial with Histogenics to use tissue implants from a patient’s own cells to treat cartilage damage. ABC Ten’s Sarah Mac has more.

The future for cartilage treatment is closer than you think…

Before if you were to get a cartilage injury the effects could last for decades and the cartilage never fully heals. Taylor Landgraf received such an injury to the cartilage in his knee skateboarding to the gym.

Athlete Taylor Landgraf says, “I started going down a hill that was a little too steep for a beginner and wiped out going down the hill and I ended up tearing my meniscus and tearing cartilage in my knee as well.”

Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center’s Dr. David C. Flanigan says, “Unfortunately cartilage, once it’s injured, it’s really difficult to repair. We really don’t have an intrinsic healing potential for it. Now doctors are thinking out of the box, or out of the knee cap, and are trying a new implant procedure. The clinical trial is to compare this NeoCart implant to traditional micro-fracture surgery. After Taylor’s injury, doctors took healthy samples of cartilage in his knee through a minimally invasive knee scope and sent them to a lab to be grown.

“They’ll take that cell line,” Dr. Flanigan added, “and just keep replicating, replicating, replicating until they millions of cells.”

The result was a living piece of cartilage. Once it was ready, doctors cut and sized it, then used a special adhesive and basically glued it to the cartilage in Taylor’s knee. After that doctors expect it will grow into the existing cartilage and fully heal the injury.

Dr. Flanigan says, “What’s really exciting is that if this actually can help improve function, improve outcomes for patients, it may be the really the future of how we address cartilage.”

Taylor says, “I’m just excited about this and excited to see where it goes, and looking forward to being back to full health.”

In Michigan, Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak was the first to attempt the NeoCart implant. Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center was the first in Ohio.

For more information about the clinical trial click here.

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