The prevalence of cartilage defects and their association with osteoarthritis (OA): OA is the leading cause of pain and disability in Australia. Currently, 1 in 11 Australians suffer OA (9% or 2.1 million people). The clinical significance is underscored by the 38% rise in total knee replacements for OA from 2005-6 to 2015-16. Chondral lesions/defects have limited capacity for self-repair, and are considered to be the precursor of OA. This has motivated the development of strategies to repair defects, with the intent to delay or prevent the onset of OA.

Our team is dedicated to developing new and more efficacious methods to repair cartilage defects.  Cartilage defect repair remains challenging, but if successful it can delay or prevent the onset of OA. You can read some of our recent publications on this topic here and here.

Below are images from some our recent sheep trials, where we are testing next-generation cartilage defect repair technologies.

Figure 1.  Three 6 mm diameter full thickness cartilage defects repaired in the knee of a sheep.

Figure 2.  Sheep receive excellent post-surgical care.  The repaired joint is immobilised, and weight on joints is reduced by suspending the animals in slings for a few weeks post surgery (similar to human patients, who are also protected from full joint loading post surgery).

This work is on-going, and in collaboration with A/Prof Mike Doran (QUT/TRI), Prof Ming-Hao Zheng (UWA), Dr Kathryn Futrega (QUT), Dr Pamela Robey (NIH), A/Prof Travis Klein (QUT), Prof Ross Crawford (QUT/PCH), and Dr Siamak Saifzadeh (MERF/QUT).