A new technology using pig tissue is being developed to minimise the damaged caused by a torn meniscus – an injury suffered in recent times by Michael Essien.
The Ghana international’s football career has been in jeopardy over recent years following series of such injury sustained in his knee.
Twice, the Chelsea ace has had to go under the knife to fix the problem using donor tissues to help reduce pain and to restore normal range of motion.
Essien’s Black Stars teammate Sulley Muntari has also suffered an almost similar injury while on holidays in his native Ghana.
Muntari’s injury is expected to keep him out of action for six months after successfully undergoing operation last month- incurring the fury of AC Milan chiefs in the process.
However shortage of donors has limited the scope of such surgeries giving rise to the development of the new technology which is being championed by English-based Tissue Regenix.
This prospective scientific breakthrough employs the use of material from pigs that are able to multiply into abundant tissues.
“A product that restores normal function of the meniscus and prevents or delays the development of arthritis would have huge demand,” Marc Galloway, an orthopaedic surgeon who is not involved in the innovation said.
The menisci are made of c-shaped cartilage that serve as shock absorbers for the knees.
Currently, tears are treated through surgical repairs with stitches, a fifth of which fail, or partial removal of damaged portions.
The market for these procedures is about $3 billion (€2.4 billion), according to Peel Hunt LLP, a British broker.
Tissue Regenix’s dCELL technology involves taking animal tissue and removing cellular material from it that would cause humans to reject the implant.
That allows doctors to use the stripped tissue without anti-rejection drugs to replace worn out or diseased body parts.
Once implanted, the cellular scaffold is repopulated with the patient’s own stem cells.
This decellularisation technology may also potentially be applied to heart valves and wound care.
Data from a pre-clinical trial for the meniscus application will be released later this year, with a trial in humans to start next year, according to chief executive Antony Odell.