Helping Knees Heal Themselves

December 5, 2008 7:06:24 PM PST
People who have suffered from torn cartilage in the knee can face a long recovery.Playing football is hard on the body. Starting right guard, number 78, Kurtis Gregory who plays for his college team knows that all too well.

"My rear end hit the floor and I just kinda felt something that didn't seem right," said Kurtis Gregory.

Gregory tore his meniscus the cushion of cartilage in the knee that provides padding and stability to the joint.

"I couldn't even walk to practice," said Gregory.

Torn menisci are often difficult to repair or irreparable and removed, resulting in joint pain that can lead to arthritis.

But now researchers have found a way to help torn menisci heal themselves. Doctor Jimi Cook a veterinarian has been testing a new device called a bio-duct in some furry knees.

Jimi Cook, DVM, PhD said, "Dogs knees and human knees are really comparable both in the problem that occurs and the way that we treat them."

Together, Doctor Cook and Doctor Kane conducted research that lead to the FDA approval of bio-duct in humans. Bio-duct works by acting as tunnel to transport cells and blood from the vascular outer part of a meniscus to the site of the tear, which doesn't receive blood flow.

"We're actually kind of plumbing the meniscus. The cells and the blood supply to allow them to heal is just not there in that tissue, so this device actually brings that in a directed manner," said Jimi Cook, DVM, PhD.

The device is implanted arthroscopically and is bio-absorbable, so it doesn't need to be removed. With adequate blood supply, a meniscus tear can heal itself completely in less than 12 weeks getting everyone back on their feet ... pain free!

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