University of New Mexico surgeons implant knee cartilage grown from patient’s own cells

New hope for those with chronic injuries

University of New Mexico physicians are testing an investigational tissue implant made from a patient’s own cartilage cells to treat knee cartilage damage. UNM is one of 33 clinical trial sites nationwide.

Advanced NeoCart cartilage repair technology from Histogenics is currently being tested by Andrew Veitch, MD, and Gehron Treme, MD, assistant professors of orthopaedics sports medicine with the UNM School of Medicine, to determine if it will improve outcomes and recovery time for certain knee cartilage injuries.

To generate the implant, a surgeon first obtains a small sample of normal cartilage from a patient’s knee through a minimally invasive knee scope. The tissue sample is then treated and grown into a cartilage implant, which is returned to the injury site. Preliminary safety studies using this tissue implant have demonstrated that the cartilage implant made from patient’s own cartilage is safe with no serious side effects.

Healthy cartilage is crucial to the smooth and painless mobility of most joints, but it has limited capacity to repair itself after injury. Microfracture surgery is considered the current standard of care for most cases of moderate to severe cartilage injury in the knee. Although symptoms may improve for a period of time after surgery, microfracture doesn’t create the same healthy joint cartilage required to withstand normal forces of movement.

“The field of sports medicine is continually investigating new products and techniques in joint repair, with goals of safer, less invasive procedures and quicker, more thorough recoveries,” Veitch says. “We encourage patients facing surgery to repair damaged knee cartilage to explore all of their options.”

The NeoCart cartilage tissue implant is currently in an FDA-approved multi-center, randomized clinical trial comparing the NeoCart implant to the current standard-of-care for patients with particular cartilage defects of the knee. The Neocart implant is made by Histogenics, which is sponsoring the clinical trial.

For more information on UNM’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, visit To learn more and find out if you qualify for this research study, visit or contact the NeoCart Contact Center at 505/340-3288 or .

Categories: Patient Care, School of Medicine, UNM Hospitals

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