Posted: June 15, 2014
Osteochondral allografting is an effective technique for treating osteochondral defects; however, its utility is limited by the availability of clinically suitable osteochondral tissues. Current methods allow only for short term hypothermic storage of human articular cartilage (AC) where cell deterioration begins after 7-14 days, thus limiting the clincial use of this tissue. These limitations reveal a great need for effective protocols to cryopreserve AC that maintains cell viability and matrix integrity thereby allowing for long term storage of this tissue.
Dr. Nadr Jomha is an orthopaedic surgeon at the University of Albera (UA) specializing in ankle and knee reconstruction surgery. Collaborations with Dr. Janet Elliot and Dr. Lockesly McGann from the UA have resulted in the design of a novel vitrification protocol for human AC. This protocol allows for a unique sequence of various ceoncentrations of cryoprotective agents to be used for successful vitrification of human AC for long term storage at -196°C with limited cell toxicity resulting in high cell viability.
This protocol derives its strength from careful integration of mathematical modeling, manipulation of thermodynamic parameters, mechanical and chemical engineering, cell biology, as well as cryobiology. This is the first successful vitrification of human AC greater than 1mm thick, and the technique represents the only method available to successfully cryopreserve human AC in clinically relevant tissues with good cell viability.
Successful long-term storage of human AC by this new method would:
- Enable exact size and contour matching
- Facilitate optimal timing for the surgical procedure
- Permit thorough infectious disease screening
This technology would be of interest to tissue banks and tissue regeneration companies.
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta