Windpipe Doc Invents Torn Meniscus Bandage
It sounds like a crazy idea but it should be taken seriously because the proponent, Anthony Hollander, M.D., who was involved in the world’s first successful windpipe transplant in 2008. Hollander has used similar technology to develop his latest idea–a stem cell bandage for patients with torn knee cartilage.
The bandage uses a patient’s own stem cells and was developed for commercial use by a Bristol University, England, spin-out company called Azellon Ltd. For the initial phase, Hollander is recruiting 10 patients with torn meniscal cartilage who will have the bandage implanted in their knees in a procedure at Southmead Hospital.
Patients who have been diagnosed with torn meniscal cartilage following an MRI scan will have a small operation to take a sample of bone marrow from their hip. The stem cells taken from the bone marrow will be sent to the lab to grow them on the membrane, called a bio-scaffold, which forms the basis of the bandage. Two weeks later the bandage will be sent back to Southmead for an arthroscopy operation, using a small camera, to implant the bandage into the site of the injury.
Patients will be advised not to stand for a few weeks after the procedure. They will then be followed-up on a regular basis for 7 years. Hollander said,
I am very excited. This is the culmination of many years of research. This is about turning science and ideas into reality. We can now begin the process to find out if it is safe and helps these patients.
He went on to explain, “Patients like this because there is no risk of rejection. These patients are often as young as 18, 19, and 20 and within five to ten years of a standard operation to remove the damaged part, they may need an artificial knee by the time they are in their 40s or 50s, which is not a good outcome at all. So the bandage should give these patients quality of life and reduce the cost for the health service.”
The trial will run through the rest of this year and Hollander hopes that, within a year, the researchers will have their first results.