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IIT develops 3 ingenious therapies for knee meniscus tear

IANS Mar 29, 2024

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati on 28 March announced the development of three ingenious treatment solutions for hard-to-treat knee meniscus tear -- an injury to tissue in one's knee joints.

A knee meniscus tear is caused by trauma to the knee meniscus, a cushioning tissue in the knee joint, by sudden accidents, mishaps while playing sports, or simply ageing.

A tear in this crucial tissue can make it difficult for an individual to walk, run, or participate in daily activities. The therapies, developed in collaboration with the University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Kolkata, include three hydrogel formulations that are blends of silk fibroin and other polymers.

These components, especially silk, are well known for their strength, bioactivity and flexibility and hence can be used by doctors to treat meniscus injury.

Besides being cost-effective compared to commercially available polyurethane and collagen meniscus implants, these can also be customised for each patient, and potentially prevent future complications such as osteoarthritis.

"We have developed regenerative treatment approaches that would be tailored for the patient and help in rapid healing meniscus tears or replacing parts of the damaged tissue. Our problem statement also accounts for the shape and size variability of the meniscus in patients of different age groups, and is a source of growth factors for better healing," said Prof. Biman B. Mandal, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, in a statement.

Out of the three formulations, one is an injectable hydrogel, which can be injected in a minimally invasive manner directly into the meniscus site to expedite the healing of smaller injuries, the researchers said.

In addition, they also created two 3D bio-printable inks that can be 3D printed into implants.

The different approaches are described in three research papers published across two International journals, Applied Materials Today and Advanced Biology.

"There is an urgent need for personalised, affordable 3D meniscal implants in the clinical scenario as artificial implants fail to conform to patients alike.

"There are also significant infection risks from allografts, inconsistent mechanical compliance of the graft being either too brittle or too stiff, as well as the poor biological integration of synthetic implants," Prof. Mandal added.

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