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Knee Pain? An Exclusive Study Engineers Cartilage to Match Patient's Own Tissue

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients with knee cartilage injuries now have the opportunity to re-grow their cartilage as part of an innovative study at TRIA Orthopaedic Center, in Bloomington, MN. Cartilage is the tough but flexible tissue that covers the ends of your bones at a joint such as the knee; symptoms of knee cartilage defects include pain, swelling and catching. In the United States alone, knee pain ranks the second highest source of musculoskeletal-related physician visits in 2005, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. This new implant technology, NeoCart(R), regenerates this injury-prone tissue within a bio-engineered material, grown from the patient's own cartilage cells. The matrix matches his or her unique cartilage characteristics, and is being studied as an alternative to a standard therapy called microfracture. Dr. Brad Nelson, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Principal Investigator for TRIA, will be implanting this engineered tissue matrix for a select number of patients.

Histogenics Corporation, makers of NeoCart(R), successfully completed Phase I of the NeoCart(R) clinical trial, demonstrating the safety of the technique in a small number of patients, and is now in Phase II, where NeoCart(R) will be compared with a standard therapy called microfracture. TRIA Orthopaedic Center is one of a limited number of sites in the country, and the only site in Minnesota, chosen to participate in the study. "We are thrilled to be one of five centers nationally participating in this clinical trial," said Ryan Graver, Director of Research and education for TRIA. "This kind of cutting-edge research improves Orthopaedic treatments and outcomes that our patients can expect. Our commitment is to improve care for all Orthopaedic patients and it is through such projects TRIA is beginning to translate science into advancements in clinical care."

Since the body does not naturally re-grow cartilage without medical intervention the knee joints are prone to degeneration and osteoarthritis. The NeoCart(R) implant, to replace the damaged cartilage, is cultured from an initial biopsy where a pea size amount of a patient's healthy cartilage is extracted. The biopsy sample is processed to pinpoint the cartilage producing cells, then injected into a 3-D bioengineered matrix and placed under high pressure to grow the cartilage. This matrix, with the same characteristics of the patient's own cartilage, is then implanted to replace the damaged cartilage. Patients participating in this study will receive either NeoCart(R) or standard microfracture therapy.

TRIA has the potential to offer this research opportunity to 10 -15 patients. Patients between the ages of 18-55 with knee pain symptoms indicative of an articular cartilage injury may be eligible to enroll in the study. Patients in the study will have a MRI study and must be able to undergo arthroscopic microfracture or biopsy and subsequent surgery for NeoCart implantation.

There is no charge to the patient for the NeoCart implant used in this study. The treatment cost of the patient's knee cartilage injury will remain the same regardless of participation in the study, and is normally covered under your medical/hospital insurance plan. Individuals interested in participating in this study, or physicians wanting more information, should contact Dan Schwartz, TRIA Orthopaedic Center, at 952-831-8742.

TRIA Orthopaedic Center is a state-of-the-science partnership of Park Nicollet Health Services, University of Minnesota Physicians and The Orthopaedic Center. This revolutionary facility delivers orthopaedic treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, pharmacy, research and physician education -- all under one roof. TRIA specialists train over 600 national and international surgeons on the latest techniques in orthopaedic surgery in our Bio-Skills Laboratory. TRIA is conveniently located at France Avenue and I- 494. To contact TRIA Orthopaedic Center, call 952-831-8742 or visit our website at

SOURCE TRIA Orthopaedic Center
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