Articular cartilage damage or deterioration can be caused by injury or trauma, congenital abnormalities or hormonal disorders as osteoarthritis. Ankle, digits, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder or wrist can be affected by articular cartilage disorders. If damaged cartilage is not treated, it can worsen and eventually require joint structure replacement surgery. Articular cartilage is a difficult tissue to mimic as it is a highly organized, fibre-reinforced tissue with specific mechanical and biological properties.
A team at Imperial College London led by Professor Molly Stevens developed the Osteochondral Scaffold. The original 3D fibrous scaffold structurally mimics articular cartilage. It enhances natural cell-extracellular matrix interactions, promote cell proliferation and cartilage-like tissue formation. It provides a template to organize the newly deposited matrix. The scaffold is a 3D laminated construct comprising various nano to micron-sized fibres with anisotropic structure and composition.