Engineering Cartilage Constructs using 3D Bioassembly Approach

Status: Complete
Year: 2017
Funded: $97,355
Grant Type: Major Project Grant
Human Biology

Articular cartilage has a limited regenerative capacity, and few approaches employed clinically are capable of restoring long-term function. This research is focused on bridging the gap between regenerative medicine and the clinic by developing improved cell therapy strategies and advanced 3D printing scaffold technique for repairing damaged cartilage. This will involve designing and engineering cartilage in the lab by combining patients’ own cells with biomaterials, with the aim to recapitulate the architecture, zonal distribution and intrinsic mechanical properties of native cartilage. 

Researcher // Dr Khoon Lim – University of Otago

Dr Khoon Lim is a biomedical engineer with specialization in polymer chemistry (PhD awarded 2014). His research focus is on adopting a class of polymers known as hydrogels as tissue engineering matrices for a variety of applications.

More About Dr Khoon Lim

What is Cartilage?

Cartilage is a resilient and smooth elastic tissue, a rubber-like padding that covers and protects the ends of long bones at the joints, and is a structural component of the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the intervertebral discs, and many other body components. It is not as hard and rigid as bone, but it is much stiffer and much less flexible than muscle. The matrix of cartilage is made up of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, collagen fibers and, sometimes, elastin.

Because of its rigidity, cartilage often serves the purpose of holding tubes open in the body. Examples include the rings of the trachea, such as the cricoid cartilage and carina. Cartilage is composed of specialized cells called chondrocytes that produce a large amount of collagenous extracellular matrix, abundant ground substance that is rich in proteoglycan and elastin fibers.

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