Fusion IP has created Progenteq, a new Cardiff University spin-out developing a novel cartilage replacement therapy for use in treating acute knee injuries.
The company is founded on the work of Prof Charlie Archer’s research group at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences.
Prof Archer is leader of the Connective Tissue Biology Group, which has isolated a defined population of cells from the articular cartilage that surrounds the main bones in the knee joint.
These cells can be expanded in the laboratory to produce very large quantities of cartilage.
This cell type could provide a source of material for an ‘allogeneic’ cartilage replacement therapy, whereby cells derived from donors can be taken and used to grow a large tissue bank of cartilage that can be stored and is suitable for insertion into patients with acute knee injuries.
An allogeneic approach has been described as ‘the holy grail’ of cartilage repair
According to Fusion IP, this model promises a more cost-effective cell therapy than current ‘autologous’ approaches, where cells are removed from a patient, expanded and then implanted into the same patient.
The successful development of a cartilage cell bank could also pave the way for treatment of degenerative cartilage damage such as that seen in osteoarthritis.
‘Although this is an early stage project, an allogeneic approach has been described as “the holy grail” of cartilage repair,’ said David Baynes, chief executive of Fusion IP. ‘We believe that Archer’s discovery may be the key and as such it has the potential to revolutionise the way we treat acute knee injuries.’