Scientists at the forefront of stem cell biology are exploring new approaches to creating surgical implants that could offer prolonged benefits for sufferers of osteoarthritis and potentially even cancer.
At present, cartilage implants created using stem cells can only be constructed as a solid shape, acting as an interim measure before the almost inevitable need for total joint replacement.
Now researchers at the University of Bristol are investigating the possibilities of a biologically-engineered synthetic liquid polymer that would eliminate the need for further surgery by offering a one stop, permanent solution.
Dr Wael Kafienah, from Bristol’s School of Medical Sciences, believes this research could represent the next breakthrough in stem cell therapy. He and his team are collaborating with researchers in Canada and Qatar to explore how such a biomaterial could be created. Dr Kafienah, the lead Principal Investigator for Bristol, has been funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRP), with approximately $1 million over a period of three years to conduct the initial research. The QNRP has an international annual cycle of highly competitive, peer-reviewed, collaborative funding.
If the research proves successful, clinical trials could be carried out within five years.