Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for focal chondral defects of the knee joint aim to augment, repair, replace or regenerate the damaged cartilage caused by trauma or the natural aging process. Enrollment is underway at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for a Phase III clinical trial of an autologous cartilage implant (NOVOCART® 3D, Aesculap Biologics, LLC/B. Braun, Inc.) for the repair of femoral cartilage defects.
Robert Gallo, MD, associate professor of sports medicine and the site principal investigator for this trial, explains, “Patients who experience knee pain and are limited in their activities because of a large cartilage defect on the distal femur are good potential candidates for this trial.” Such localized defects usually result from trauma or repetitive use during sports activity and are not seen in the setting of osteoarthritis or other arthropathies; patients with “kissing” lesions are not permitted to enroll. The NOVOCART 3D (three-dimensional) implant is a combination biologic device made by harvesting autologous chondrocytes from the patient, which are then sent to a central laboratory and expanded; the cells are then seeded onto a bioresorbable three-dimensional collagen-based matrix that is implanted at the defect site three weeks later.1