The knee looks simple from the outside but actually is a complex joint allowing a wide range of movement in our daily lives. The bottom end of the femur (thigh bone) forms a joint surface with the top end of the tibia (shin bone), both of which are lined with articular cartilage. Cartilage is the most important connective tissue for the normal functioning of the knee joint, allowing the bones to glide easily over each other during movement.
Articular cartilage is the smooth, white tissue covering the ends of bones where they come together to form joints. Damage to the cartilage layer can be extremely painful and is generally associated with sudden trauma. Surgery is often required because of the limited capacity for cartilage to repair itself.
Cartilage can get damaged through an acute injury or through progressive wear and tear. When cartilage is damaged, the joint surface may no longer be smooth. Moving bones along a tough, damaged joint surface is difficult and causes pain.
When there is substantial damage to the cartilage, it may be difficult for the body’s own cells to heal the cartilage damage. This is partly because the cartilage has very little blood supply and does not heal well on its own. Surgery is often required to relieve the pain and disability by supporting regeneration of new cartilage, thereby protecting the knee joint from further damage or osteoarthritis. If left untreated, damaged cartilage can lead to long-term irreversible joint damage.
The best cartilage repair surgical technique for you depends on your age, activity level, where the lesion is located in the knee, whether the damage has gone through to the bone and the size of the cartilage damage. A common surgical procedure is microfracture surgery. Microfractures are small holes made in the bone underneath the cartilage defect to allow a blood clot to form. Microfracture may result in the formation of fibrocartilage (a weaker type of cartilage) rather than hyaline cartilage (the body’s own cartilage). As a result, microfracture often provides only short-term relief and may require repeated surgeries.
Your surgeon will discuss all available treatment options with you and guide you with their recommendation.
Researchers at Regentis Biomaterials have developed an investigational implant called GelrinC, which is being evaluated as a treatment to help the body regrow cartilage in the knee. GelrinC is implanted as a liquid so that it completely fills the defect, and then it is cured into a gel that enables the body’s own stem cells to settle on its surface. Over a period of six to 12 months, GelrinC is gradually resorbed by the body and replaced by new cartilage tissue. Preliminary clinical studies in Europe have indicated that this regenerated tissue provides excellent improvement in pain and function.
Watch this video to find out more about the GelrinC procedure.
If you have knee pain caused by damaged articular cartilage and would like to be considered for the study, click here or call (833) 430-8686.
The SAGE Clinical Study is currently enrolling patients to assess the safety and efficacy of GelrinC for the treatment of articular cartilage damage in the knee. If you are 18-50 years old and have pain in only one knee, you may qualify. This is a non-randomized study, so all patients who meet study requirements and agree to enter the study are provided GelrinC as treatment.
Visit the SAGE Clinical Study page for more information