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Meniscus Research

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are considered to be a very promising technology to restore damaged tissues. Smart scaffolds (biomaterials), growth factors and cells are used in various combinations for the repair of lost tissues. Load bearing capability of the new construct is of utmost importance in tissue engineering for lost tissue of the muscular-skeletal tissues. The research is focussed on cartilage and meniscus tissue.

Background and History

Animal and clinical studies have shown that early onset of degenerative arthritis is a common result of (partial) meniscectomy. Approximately 20.000 meniscal surgical procedures are performed each year in The Netherlands. Of these meniscectomy patients 40% will develop osteoarthritis. If degeneration could be prevented by repair of the meniscus, in case of a lesion in the avascular area, or by replacement by a prosthesis, in case of a completely damaged meniscus, less patients would need a total knee replacement procedure.

In this research we investigate new solutions for the damaged meniscus to avoid degeneration of knee articular cartilage. Previously we developed (in close cooperation with the Department of Polymer Chemistry Department of the University of Groningen) biodegradable polymers for the application of meniscal repair. The current meniscus projects are a BMM-funded project, a tissue engineering project and a project funded by the Dutch Arthritis Association.

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