At first glance, it would seem as if your knee joints would have very little to do your nose. And to be sure, these parts of the body really don’t share many traits. But if the results of a recent experiment are true, the cells in your nose could help the condition of damaged knee joints.
Articular cartilage damage is widespread problem in the United States and Europe, developing in roughly two million people each year. This deterioration can often be attributed to injuries and accidents, as well as the wear and tear that accompanies the aging process. Unfortunately, medical science has yet to develop an exceptionally effective method of restoring weakened cartilage.
Seeking to rectify this longstanding problem, a team of Swiss researchers recently sought to restore damaged cartilage using nasal cartilage cells. A total of 10 adult subjects between the ages of 18 and 55 agreed to take part in this study, which was published online in the Lancet medical journal. Using local anesthetic, cartilage cells were extracted from each adult and placed into a lab, where they were allowed to grow freely for a period two weeks.
The Nose Knows
After being molded into the proper shapes, the newly minted grafts were then surgically attached to the participants. The study authors reexamined nine of the ten adults two years after surgery via MRI – one subject suffered an unrelated injury and could not take part in the follow-up evaluation.
The MRIs revealed a notable increase in cartilage subject’s knee joints. As an added bonus, no side effects were observed in any of these nine individuals. The study also noted that the subjects reported lower pain levels, along with increased levels of knee functionality.
Encouraged by these results, the research team plans to not only expand the scope of the study to 25 participants, but to also track their progress for an extended period of time.