This research networking center gathers some of the main Spanish research groups in biomedicine, located in more than 100 institutions like universities, hospitals, and technological centers distributed around the country.
This new strategy for the regeneration of articular cartilage is based on an injectable material whose implant in the site of a cartilage defect combined with a subchondral bone stimulation technique.
In the regeneration of the articular cartilage, various subchondral bone stimulation techniques are used. These surgical techniques are based on injuring the bone below the site of cartilage damage inducing bleeding that opens a path for the migration of pluripotent, mesenchymal cells with chondrogenic capacity, able to produce new cartilaginous tissue. However, very often the tissue formed does not have the structure or properties of the articular cartilage (hyaline cartilage) but rather it looks more like fibrocartilage, softer, which is not functional in the joint and degenerates with time. One of the reasons why the cells that arrive at the defect site are not able to generate the correct tissue is that the biomechanical environment they find is not adequate. Different implants have been developed that aim to protect the cells and transfer to the cells the dynamic compression loads to which the joint is subjected in a similar way as in healthy tissue, but their efficiency is still not fully demonstrated.
The new material consists of a mixture of synthetic microspheres, SMs (biodegradable polymer), and autologous microspheres, AMs (produced from the patient's own tissue). A bleeding at the defect site is produced by microfracture, nanofracture or drilling of the subchondral bone. The mixture of the two types of microspheres is injected and soaked in the blood being embedded in the blood clot. Next, the defect is covered with a synthetic membrane that sticks to the clot, covering the defect. The surgical procedure can be performed by arthroscopy. Within three months, in a rabbit knee model, the organism has displaced the biomaterial and tissue with the histological aspect of the native one and a fully functional articular surface has replaced the defect.
The Spanish research center is looking for industrial partners, either from the Biotech or Pharma sectors, in order to achieve
license, research cooperation or technical cooperation agreements.