In Ireland, a professor and researcher from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s Department of Anatomy and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science research center, was awarded a highly prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for a research project that aims to revolutionize the treatment of damaged articular joints such as the knee or ankle. Currently, there is no successful treatment for repairing damaged cartilage with even small defects often progressing to degenerative osteoarthritis requiring joint replacement.
The ReCaP project proposes a new approach to articular joint repair which will transform the way articular cartilage injuries are treated. The project will achieve this by combining cutting edge recent advances in the area of 3D printing and advanced manufacturing with new insights in stem cell and gene therapy to develop a platform biomaterial technology (a scaffold) capable of repairing both bone and cartilage. A novel surgical procedure will then be applied to allow this scaffold to be anchored to the joint surface while encouraging the body’s own cells to infiltrate the material and repair the surrounding damaged tissue. Using this new approach, the treatment will promote the restoration of even large regions of damaged tissue.