Autologous chondrocyte implantation for osteoarthritis approved by NHS
People with a certain form of arthritis now have a different treatment option thanks to the NHS approval of a new cartilage cell transplantation procedure.
A growing body of clinical evidence has conclusively demonstrated the considerable benefits of autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) for people who have small areas of cartilage damage or early osteoarthritis of the knee.
A sample of cartilage is removed from the knee, from which doctors grow a fresh supply of healthy cells that are native to the patient’s body, which takes around three weeks. The chondrocyte cells are then returned to the affected area in a second surgical procedure.
The cells anchor themselves to the bone within 24 hours, resulting in fresh cartilage growth at the damaged site. People tend to resume everyday use of the joint within three months and full activities including sports after 12 months.
New research highlights a number of factors (such as age, gender, location, number of defects, and the number of previous operations) that affect the chances of ACI succeeding, so experts can determine who is most likely to benefit.
Dr Stephen Simpson from Arthritis Research UK, comments:
“It is certainly positive news that, thanks to the valuable research in this area, ACI is being made available on the NHS. This means that more people with this type of cartilage damage or early osteoarthritis will be able to access and potentially benefit from this treatment.”
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