Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis with more than 21-million Americans suffering from this chronic condition. But someday, joint replacement could be a thing of the past, thanks to some "fatty" research at the University of Arizona.
John Szivek, Ph.D., a Researcher at the University Of Arizona says, "There seem to be a lot of stem cells in fat and if you can extract those cells from the fat tissue, it's fairly straight forward to convert them to cartilage cells using a number of different strategies."
Dr. Szivek says that once removed, a patient's fat cells would be manipulated in the lab, and then surgically implanted back into the patient's ailing joint. Then, using a scaffold made of porous material to collect the cells and let them grow into cartilage like material. Eventually, the scaffold is absorbed by the body and replaced with the patient's own tissue.
So far, this research looks promising, but Dr. Szivek says it will be a few years before this advance will make it to the market.