The core technology of KIST is to provide novel methods for treating cartilage damage using tissue-engineered cartilage-like implant made of cartilage cell aggregates-hydrogel-polymer scaffold complex. It is considered as far advanced therapy in terms of activity-provided biocompatible materials
Background and unmet needs
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating joint disease characterized by the degeneration of articular cartilage, and affects over 20 million people nationwide. Several methods have been established in the last decades for the treatment of injured and degenerated cartilage. Osteochondroal transplatation, microfracturing, heat treatment for sealing the surface, shaving, autologous chondrocyte transplantation(ACT) or total joint replacement are among the common techniques applied in today's orthopedic surgery. Commonly, the replacement of cartilage tissue with solid permanent artificial inserts has been unsatisfactorily because the opposing articular joint surface is damaged by unevenness or by the hardness of the inserts. Therefore, the transplantation technology had to take a step forward in the research of alternative cartilage materials such as biocompatible materials and structures for cartilage replacement. In view of this situation, many clinical and research studies are currently striving to understand the disease progression of osteoarthritis and develop improved methods of treatment but have finally failed to effectively improve both mechanical strength and cartilage-genesis at the same time. Moreover, conventional osteoarthritis treating cell complexes have been composed of only hydrogel and single cell, or scaffold and single cell, which turned out to have much less effective in chondrocyte-differentiation.
Discovery and Achievements
Technology of KIST has been developed on the basis of findings that the cell aggregates-hydrogel-polymer scaffold complexes show excellent ability for remedy of osteoarthritis. The present inventors used ?) cell aggregates for more efficient differentiation into cartilage than in single cell due to cell-cell interactions; ?) hydrogel for living body-similar environment; and ?) biocompatible polymer scaffold to provide mechanical strength similar to native cartilage using biodegradable elastic scaffold. These cartilage-like biomaterials comprising of ?, ? and ? have outstanding ability in accelerating cartilage-differentiation and also in maintaining their shape. When transplanted with complexes of the present technology, the cartilage lesion gets remarkably improved.
? Present technology can be successfully applied to effective anti-osteoarthritis therapy based on strong cartilage-regenesis ability, and KIST is planning to make further research to establish optimal production conditions, clinical test, physical stability and automatic manufacturing process for mass production.
? KIST is seeking for out-licensing partners who equipped with GMP.