European Union (EU) regulators yesterday recommended approval of a third-generation transplant product of autologous cultured cartilage cells for repairing worn-out knees that doesn’t require any scaffold material.
Cartilage consists of cells called chondrocytes and the extracellular matrix that these cells produce. The new transplant product, called Spherox (CO.DON AG), is derived from chondrocytes isolated from the patient’s cartilage. These chondrocytes are cultured in a lab to create their own three-dimensional, spheroid-shaped matrices. The spheroids with their embedded chondrocytes are then inserted arthroscopically into the patient’s knee to repair cartilage damage and restore function.