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  • Tolgay Şatana

Refresh Your Cartilage in the Laboratory

It is now possible to make a backup of our tissues to regenerate and heal yourself!

While our body has the ability to heal and repair itself when it receives any injury, when this injury or damage occurs in tissues such as joints and muscles, we have little chance. However, with cellular therapy applied in a limited number of centers in Turkey, new cartilage can be transplanted to the patient by producing cartilage in the laboratory from the cartilage cell taken from the person himself.

In reality, the cause of pain is nothing more than an early warning. It can occur with the contact of a needle to our skin to protect it from it. Sometimes it is too late, for example, when a decaying tooth causes pain, we may be too late. In the musculoskeletal system, pain may indicate a more severe situation, especially in the joints, rather than an early warning.

Don’t say it hurts

The improvement in tissues such as joint cartilage and muscle is almost nonexistent compared to the regenerative ability of our skin. Considering that pain is not a cause but a result, we can say that cartilage damage occurs with surface changes and decreased slipperiness as a result of poor healing. Joint attachment, restriction of movement and swelling are perceived as ordinary findings. However, the reason that damages the joint should be eliminated immediately, its recovery should be accelerated and its recurrence should be prevented. Today, it is very important to be active for a healthy life, joint health is the basic condition of being able to move without pain. So we must protect our joints and evaluate the chances of timely treatment.

In case of joint damage due to rheumatic reasons, it is necessary to stop or reduce the cartilage damage. If it is caused by trauma, it must be repaired.

Arthroscopy gold standard

Meniscus repair, removal of tears, correction of cartilage surfaces are possible with Arthroscopy, which is known as the gold standard today. Replacing the cartilage is fraught with technical difficulties.

The joint damaged by arthroscopy is largely ready to repair itself. Advanced arthroscopic surgery not only detects and fixes problems with high resolution cameras, but also enables cellular treatments.

For science that succeeded in replicating a sheep with “cloning = gene copying” that has emerged from fantasy novels in the last two decades, it is not yet possible for every tissue to copy organs and tissues. Cartilage can be reproduced to some extent and used in cellular treatments.

New cartilage from the lab

If the patients undergoing cellular therapy meet the appropriate conditions during arthroscopy, the tissue sample is immediately taken and sent to the laboratory with a special carrier. Cells, whose suitability is tested in the laboratory, are put into production, made into tissues in a special carrier and made ready for transfer within 15 days. The treatment continues with the placement of the produced cartilage in the area where the cartilage is lost by re-operating the patients. This method, which is gradually spreading around the world, can be applied in selected centers in our country. Cellular treatments can be applied today to eliminate the consequences of diseases or traumas with complete cartilage loss on the joint surface. In superficial losses, instead of such treatments, arthroscopic applications are performed to increase the healing of the existing tissue. Arthroscopic examination is essential to determine the degree of cartilage loss and to determine the type of treatment. Since today’s advanced radiological imaging methods are not yet sufficient to determine the type of treatment, it is very difficult to understand without arthroscopy, even in patients selected for such treatment. This situation is a major disadvantage if patients refuse surgery as a treatment option.

Who can receive cellular therapy in joint diseases?

  • First of all, the person to be transferred must have full body functions that can heal himself. Cellular therapy applications to the elderly are limited compared to the young.

  • In the area to be treated with cellular treatment, the disease should be terminated and sufficient nutrition should be available for the cells to heal to survive.

  • The alignment and surface relationship of the joint should be intact, and cartilage losses should not be widespread.

  • The subject is that the tissue to be transferred carries living cells capable of proliferation.

  • The tissue must be undamaged and unaffected by the disease. In this respect, I think the difficulty of finding tissue that preserves vitality with the advancement of age will increase the importance of tissue banks.

It can be an economical solution when tissues to be differentiated in stem cell banks are extremely expensive.

  • The age limit can be accepted as 50 years on average when describing the healing capacity.

  • If the loss of cartilage covers the entire surface, cellular therapy cannot be performed because its success decreases considerably.

  • Surgical treatments are much more than the treatment of surface cells in people with active rheumatic disease and deformed joints. These treatments can range from therapies that change the center of gravity to prosthetic surgeries.

In summary, stem cells are promising.

In cellular treatments, tissue is obtained in two ways. The first method is to take a sample of the tissue and provide a suitable environment for proliferation. In this method, tissues that do not have the ability to reproduce, such as muscle and brain cells, cannot be produced. At the same time, it is not yet possible to produce some secreting specialized tissues and organs in this way. The production of cartilage by the second method “differentiation from stem cells” has become possible even in muscle tissues in highly specialized laboratories. Promising treatment is the way of using stem cells in treatment by differentiating them into tissues. Human-cloning production of human tissue is ethically prohibited worldwide. The scientific world continues its studies on the cloning of organs and establishing ethical foundations.

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