An advanced chip to create cartilage in treatment of Osteoarthritis

The latest scientific study at the Politecnico di Milano Laboratory MiMic (Microfluidic and Biomimetic Microsystems) of the University Hospital of Basel have resulted in creating an advanced chip which can be used to create a cartilage. The chip is as big as a coin and can further be used to generate the effects of Osteoarthrosis (OA).

Based on the research, the experts found that the mechanical hyperstimulation of a cartilage, could induce Osteoarthrosis-related pathology. Because of the hyperstimulation, administering inflammatory molecules was not a prerequisite.

Osteoarthrosis is commonly found among musculoskeletal pathologies. Records suggest, about 10% of men and 20% of women over the age of sixty suffer from it. The number is expected to rise in the future owning to an increase in the ageing population.

Experts suggest, patients continually find a lack of pharmacological therapy and of DMOADs (Disease modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs). These not only help in minimizing the symptoms of OA, but also helps in reversing or completely stopping its degenerative process. Current remedial efforts involve surgery or palliative treatment.

Previous research concludes reproduction of OA in vitro by using high doses of molecules into cartilage explants which could induce inflammatory reaction, in addition to generating a form of catabolism. However, OA obtained through this measure could only represent final symptoms and did not help in delivering pathological process in real time.

By means of the new chip and its application of mechanical stress, it represented one of the factors and hence could be connected closely to the development of OA. The chip thus became more realistic and productive in the development, in addition to being effective in the pharmacological screening procedures.

Further study in the area hints on modelling an entire joint on a chip. Reports allege the funding will be sponsored by ‘Biomedical research on age-related diseases 2018’.

This study has been published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.