Within three to four weeks, the scientists reported in the medical journal The Lancet,
the rabbits were up and hopping around and putting weight on the regrown joints, and within four months, the cartilage in the joints was fully-grown, and all the tissue was healthy.
"The device was designed with both biological and mechanical factors in mind," Cook said. "It is unique in design and composition and in how it stimulates the body's own cells. This is the first time we have seen cartilage regeneration using this type of scaffold."
The next step, Cook said, is to implant the bioscaffolds in larger animals, and then, eventually, work up to humans.
"If we continue to prove the safety and efficacy of this biologic joint replacement strategy, then we can get FDA approval for use of this technology for joint replacements in people," Cook said. "We are stil in the early phases of this process, but this study gives a big boost to its feasibility."
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