Lord Dowding Fund for humane research


National Antivisection Society

LDF cartilage research showcased at international conference

22 January 2010


The ongoing novel research by Dr Vehid Salih and Dr Jamie Harle, into a human, in vitro model of cartilage for testing the healing properties of ultrasound, has continued to produce pleasing results.

Currently, Drs Salih and Harle are working on modifications to the ultrasound exposure rig to expand the range of acoustic outputs available. The best scaffold composition will be used in the ‘exposure’ work for the next stage of the project. This will enable exposure of pulsed ultrasound signals, rather than the continuous wave form used in the work so far.

During the next phase of the work, the researchers aim to investigate the biological responses of hMSC (human mesenchymal stem cells), for both diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound exposure parameters. The exposure rig will be modified further allowing ultrasound signals to be amplified so that varying intensities of ultrasound can be delivered to the hMSC-alginate constructs.

The model will then be used to look for ultrasound-induced effects which are intensity-, exposure time-, or pulsing regime-dependent.

The use of donor grafts to solve orthopaedic problems is not an ideal solution. Producing natural tissues artificially, with the use of such a scaffold to guide regeneration, is a suitable alternative. The regeneration of bone tissue can be greatly improved by regular treatment with therapeutic ultrasound. Therefore, the current research has great potential to develop these methods to benefit patients with cartilage injuries.

Interesting progress of the project was recently presented at an international Biomaterials conference. The presentation promoted the use of HA/alginate as an animal-free scaffold for an in vitro model of cartilage.

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