With the effort of a team of researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a new possible method to reconstruct complex body tissues using a magnetic field and hydrogels demonstrated. This could result in more permanent repairs for common injuries such as cartilage degradation.
“The method allowed arrangement of objects, such as cells, in a slew of ways that could create new complex tissues without requiring to alter the cells themselves,” said the first author of the study. Meanwhile, earlier approach involved adding magnetic particles to the cells that can respond to a magnetic field. Nonetheless, the downside of the approach is undesirable long-term effects on cell health.
On the other hand, using the new approach, this involved manipulating the magnetic character of the surroundings of the cells, thereby allowing arrangement of the objects with magnets.
Older Method of Cartilage Repair carries risk of wearing away
In fact, in humans, breakdown of tissues such as cartilages happens often, resulting in joint instability or pain. Often, the breakdown of the tissue is not in the entire area, but covers part of an area to form a hole. Meanwhile, the current ways method of repair are to fill the holes with synthetic or biologic materials, which often carries risk of wearing away because the material is not the same like the one before. It can be said, the method is similar to repairing a pothole in a road by packing with gravel and creating a tar patch. With this, the hole will smooth out but, with use, will eventually wear away, because it is not the same material and can’t attach the same way.
In general, the complex make-up of cartilage and other similar tissues complicates fixing them.