A Danish research project that aims to use adult stem cells and biomaterials to grow new tissue has received a DKK 10m (USD 2m) grant from the Danish High Technology Foundation. Participants in the four-year project, which has a total budget of DKK 20m (USD 4m), are Coloplast A/S, Interface Biotech A/S, Copenhagen University, Glostrup Hospital, Herlev Hospital and Aarhus University Hospital.
The project has two main development aims: a method for regenerating damaged cartilage seen in patients with arthritis or sports injuries, and a method for treating incontinence. The project partners will use adult stem cells, which typically come from patients themselves, and grow new tissue from them using a novel biomaterial developed and patented by Coloplast. The new tissue can subsequently be implanted into the affected area to facilitate accelerated healing.
Martin Lind, orthopaedics consultant at Aarhus University Hospital, said to professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer): "We have great expectations of the new biomaterial, because it enables stem cells to grow more optimally than previously and forms stronger newly-formed cartilage tissue than with existing methods."
Professor Gunnar Lose, gynaecologist at Glostrup Hospital, told Ingeniøren that incontinence affects almost a third of middle-aged women. "If you can use the patient's own tissue in the form of stem cells to repair the damage, it could revolutionise the treatment," he said.
The first products for the treatment of damaged cartilage are expected to be ready for use in about four years