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Engineering Materials
Self-Healing Gel Could Replace Cartilage
10/3/2012

A new flexible, self-healing hydrogel that could replace cartilage can be stretched it to 21 times its length before breaking.   (Source: Jeong-Yun Sun/Harvard University)
A new flexible, self-healing hydrogel that could replace cartilage can be stretched it to 21 times its length before breaking.
(Source: Jeong-Yun Sun/Harvard University)

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Beth Stackpole
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Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Beth Stackpole   10/3/2012 7:55:22 AM
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The self-healing and elasticity of this gel is pretty amazing. I would have liked to have this as a commercialized option for my dog who in the last two years went through two separate surgeries to repair the doggie equivalent of a torn ACL.

Dave Palmer
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Dave Palmer   10/3/2012 11:39:14 AM
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What's amazing to me about these hydrogels is their damage tolerance.  The ability to stretch a polymeric material many times its original length is not all that noteworthy, but the ability to stretch a polymeric material with a notch in it many times its original length is totally incredible.

Understanding the mechanisms behind the toughness and damage tolerance of these hydrogels could lead to the development of tough polymers for all kinds of applications.

With regard to cartilage replacement, biocompatibility may be a hurdle.  One of the biggest difficulties with cartilage replacement therapies to date has been the body rejecting the new cartilage (even when it has been grown in the lab from the patient's own cells).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Ann R. Thryft   10/3/2012 1:52:14 PM
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Dave, I agree. I found the technical discussion a bit dense, but the ability to stretch and recover, notch or no notch, is apparently due to a mix of strong and weak molecular integration and the (resulting?) crosslinked networks.

Charles Murray
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Charles Murray   10/3/2012 6:51:28 PM
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This is amazing and sorely needed. For some young patients who have had a lot of cartilage removed, the only other alternative to is to use cadaver cartilage or an artificial knee. One of my college-age sons is now in this situation. If there was an artificial alternative that wouldn't be rejected by the body, it would be a godsend.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2012 12:49:38 AM
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That video says a lot, Ann. At this point, you must feel like a science fiction writer. Story after story you reveal shocking new technology.

Mydesign
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Knee Cartilage
Mydesign   10/4/2012 6:51:49 AM
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Ann, that's a new and interesting technology. Most of the old peoples have severe pain in their knees due to the wear and tear in cartilages around and beneath the knee cap. Any idea how we can apply this to the knee.

Mydesign
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Mydesign   10/4/2012 6:54:49 AM
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Charles, now there are some magnetic therapy treatments are available for regeneration of cartilages. I know some of the patient who had undergone the treatment and feels better. But so far it is not proved or accepted by any medical council.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Ann R. Thryft   10/4/2012 11:59:03 AM
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Chuck, I wish this tech was a lot closer to commercialization so it could be used now for people like your son.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replacement for cartilage is intriguing
Ann R. Thryft   10/4/2012 11:59:34 AM
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Rob, you're right, I do sometimes feel like a SF writer. I guess this is the closest I can get.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Knee Cartilage
Ann R. Thryft   10/4/2012 12:00:06 PM
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Mydesign, I agree. In fact, I've got a knee like you describe.

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