|Transplantation of cartilage-bearing bone grafts is used in reconstructive surgery for treating bone tumors and traumatic joint injuries, and thus effective techniques for banking of these tissues are required to meet clinical demands. Because freezing injures cells and tissues, we have used a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the cryobiology of isolated articular cartilage chondrocytes, intact sections of articular cartilage and functional osteochondral (bone and cartilage) dowels by developing unique methods of assessing cell viability in cartilage, as well as biological function and biomechanical behavior of these cartilage and bone cores. These studies have extended our understanding of tissue responses during freezing and thawing, and have resulted in techniques for cryopreservation of cartilage giving recovery and function superior to cartilage cryopreserved using conventional procedures. Several specific scientific questions remain to be addressed about the cryobiology of tissue systems for optimal cryopreservation of human articular cartilage, as||we focus on the development of a clinical program applicable to a relevant clinical problem--the repair of focal defects in articular cartilage using osteochondral transplants. Monitoring of graft performance after transplantation in humans will require the development of non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques for quantitative assessment of cartilage, which we propose to correlate with the more invasive or destructive techniques which we currently use. We expect that the tangible outcomes of this study will include clinical protocols for the cryopreservation of osteochondral tissue, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods for assessment of graft performance, setting the scientific groundwork required to begin clinical application of this work. There is a significant patient base that could benefit from the transfer of these developments into routine clinical procedures, so we are optimistic that the proposed work will form the basis on which the theoretical and experimental work will be transferred from the bench to the bedside, representing a beneficial and timely contribution.|
Dr. Norman S. Schachar The McCaig Centre The University of Calgary 3330 Hospital Drive NW Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1 Phone (403) 220-3871
Document last updated on 12/01/95.