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University of Basel

From nose to knee

Text: Reto Caluori

Cartilage cells from the nose are exceptionally well suited to repairing damage in knee joints.

Human articular cartilage defects can be treated with cells taken from the nasal septum. (Image: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)
Human articular cartilage defects can be treated with cells taken from the nasal septum. (Image: University of Basel, Christian Flierl)

Treatment of cartilage defects in joints is problematic, as conventional therapies sometimes lead to chronic pain or limited mobility. Researchers at the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel have developed a promising method for healing damaged knee cartilage, in which cartilage cells are harvested from the patient’s nose and grown into a functional tissue in the lab. The resulting graft is then implanted in the damaged knee cartilage.

Ivan Martin is Professor of Tissue Engineering at the Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel and University Hospital Basel. He is currently academic lead on a study to test the use of cartilage cells from the nose to re-pair cartilage damage in the knee. The clinical component is based at the department of orthopedics and traumatology at University Hospital Basel.

More articles in the current issue of UNI NOVA.

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