Injury treatment

A medical device being developed by Cambridge-based OrthoMimetics aims to help repair cartilage, a problem common to sporting injuries.

ChondroMimetic is a porous, resorbable tissue regeneration scaffold that uniquely mimics the composition and structure of natural articular joints and improves the treatment outcome of existing surgical procedures for the regenerative repair of articular cartilage in the knee.

When implanted by a surgeon, it helps the body to heal damaged cartilage more rapidly. The company claims that the product’s make-up is more like natural tissue than any other products on the market, which makes it easier for the body’s cells to replace it with healthy cartilage.

A £3.25m project, backed by £817,000 from the Department of Trade and Industry, will involve a preclinical trial and a pilot clinical trial to test the device further and obtain permission for it to be sold in the EU.

ChondroMimetic is expected to be on the market in the EU in late 2008 or early 2009. An estimated 1,000,000 knee-cartilage related procedures are performed in the EU each year, with the cost of total joint replacements worldwide exceeding $30bn.

Led by OrthoMimetics, the project is being conducted in partnership with the University of Cambridge Orthopaedic Research Unit located at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.