Device Could Repair Knee Damage Better than Before
August 18, 2006
Researcher Collaborating with Company to Develop Innovative Knee
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The meniscus is described
as the shock absorber of the knee. Without the meniscus,
cartilage wears out quickly, bone rubs on bone and arthritis is
almost guaranteed to develop. Unfortunately, when certain parts
of this shock absorber are damaged, they don't regenerate, or
even heal, and doctors are forced to remove the damaged portion.
In the near future, this may not happen thanks to a collaboration
between a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher and a
company called BioDuct, LLC, a subsidiary of the tissue
engineering company, Schwartz Biomedical.
Most of the meniscus is
avascular, meaning that it doesn't have a good blood supply and
therefore doesn't heal well. Doctors call this portion of the
meniscus the "white zone." The "red zone" of
the meniscus is well vascularized tissue and can be repaired in
certain situations. The new device, called BioDuct¿
Meniscal Repair Device, transports blood from the red zone to the
white zone, giving that portion of the meniscus a chance to heal
when it has been damaged. The use of BioDuct is close to FDA
approval for widespread use.
"This is a landscape
changer for the sports medicine industry and will have a large
effect on how surgeons approach meniscal tears in the future,"
said Herb Schwartz, president and CEO of Schwartz Biomedical,
LLC. "If someone has a chronic tear and the tissue is still
viable, this device will provide access to blood and cells as the
body tries to repair it."
Schwartz collaborated with
James Cook, an MU professor of veterinary medicine and surgery,
to develop BioDuct and the surgical procedure to implant it. Once
BioDuct is implanted into the knee, it provides blood to the
affected region of the meniscus. BioDuct is a bioabsorbable
material, so after a period of time when the healing process is
complete, the body breaks down the device and gets rid of it
"This device will not only help humans
with these tears, but could help many animals as well," Cook
said. "In the past, when someone had a tear, it was only a
matter of time before palliative pain management was the only
treatment option. Now, we have new ways of repairing the tissues
in the joint and keeping it healthy for many years."
Schwartz said that while the device can be fitted in
anyone who has a meniscal tear, certain health factors, such as
being grossly overweight and smoking, could affect how well the
Cook has reported his findings on BioDuct
at the Orthopaedic Research Society, American Orthopaedic Society
for Sports Medicine, International Cartilage Repair Society and
Veterinary Orthopaedic Society meetings.
/ credit: University of Missouri, Columbia
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