Cartilage Repair: The Next Wave in Orthopedics
The musculoskeletal sector continues to be bogged down by the economic downturn, and particularly hard hit is the industry’s largest segment: the $13 billion total joint market. Companies are now scouting out the next technology wave in orthopedics, and the record attendance at the recent International Cartilage Repair Society meeting may be one indication of where the action will be for some time to come.
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Researchers have been working for years to develop a reliable and cost-effective means of regenerating the hyaline cartilage found in the knee, with the aim of offering a minimally invasive treatment option for the millions of patients with painful knee osteoarthritis. Although this goal has been elusive so far, recent progress suggests the field may have turned a corner, and a large number of companies are now competing to win this quest, which many refer to as the “Holy Grail” of knee OA.
While Zimmer continues to build its knee osteoarthritis early-intervention product line, most recently by acquiring Knee Creations LLC and its Subchondroplasty procedure, controversial new clinical practice guidelines have been released that recommend against the use of hyaluronic acid injections (viscosupplementation) for early knee OA.
This month we cover MxBiodevices LLC, which has completed two clinical trials of its injectable wound repair scaffold that is injected just under the wound surface to provide a healing structure; and Histogenics Corp., which is in a Phase III clinical trial in articular cartilage repair.