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Innovate UK-MoST funding for treatment of early osteoarthritis

Published on 15 February 2017

An award that we funded as part of our medical technologies proof of concept funding round in 2015 in collaboration with the Innovation Knowledge Centre (University of Leeds), has recently been awarded a £2m Innovate UK-MoST grant, under UK-China Research and Innovation Bridges Competition 2015 scheme. This grant was awarded to continue the development of novel osteochondral scaffold technology for early intervention of osteoarthritis. We would like to congratulate the researchers, led by Dr Chaozong Liu (University College London) on this exciting news and look forward to seeing how the project develops.

Osteochondral scaffold technology is a technique made possible by recent advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, which work with the body’s own natural mechanisms. The scaffold is implanted in the osteochondral defect of the patient where it acts as a physical support structure for cell growth and promotes the simultaneous regeneration of articular cartilage and underlining subchondral bone.

A glimpse of how this scaffold will perform has been given, with promising results, by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick of the Channel 4 TV series Supervet, where it was implanted in a pet dog shoulder to treat a large osteochondral defect. The Innovate UK-MoST funding was awarded to the team based at University College London, in collaboration with Oxford MEStar Ltd, and partners based in China, to progress this new scaffold-based technology into manufacturing for clinical use.

Dr Chaozong Liu from University College London, who is leading this research, commented, “We have demonstrated that the novel osteochondral scaffold, developed under an Arthritis Research UK Medical technologies proof of concept award, has the strength needed to bear the physical load of the joints and its patented biomedical structure encourages consistent cartilage fill. We are confident our scaffold technology has the potential to address this unmet clinical need. We are very happy with the achievement and very grateful for Arthritis Research UK and the Medical Technologies IKC for supporting our work.”

This type of scaffold procedure would provide a one-step surgical method for treatment of large osteochondral defects in osteoarthritic joints, improving quality of life for people living with the condition. It offers a faster and cheaper alternative to joint replacement surgery, therefore making it more accessible to a larger amount of patients.

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