This article was first published by The Times of Israel and is re-posted with permission.
After repeated attempts to fix the worn-down cartilage in her knee failed to bring relief, a 30-year old woman in Jerusalem earlier this month received an implant made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonite, which, if all goes well, will help regenerate her cartilage and bone over time.
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The implant was developed by the Israeli startup CartiHeal Ltd., which is conducting a global clinical trial of its technology and hoping to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The goal is to commercialize a product that could bring relief to millions of sufferers of cartilage knee pain within a few years.
“Millions of patients are looking for a solution to the degeneration of knee cartilage,” said Nir Altschuler, the CEO and founder of CartiHeal, which he set up in 2009 in collaboration with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “We hope we can provide a breakthrough with our technology.”
“Cartilage has very limited ability to be repaired,” he said. “Finding a solution for cartilage regeneration is one of the holy grails of medicine.”
CartiHeal believes it has found the solution for people who have cartilage defects with or without mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, a deterioration of cartilage and the underlying bone.
“The idea is to capture patients who are still active and to try to treat them before they reach the need for a knee replacement,” he said in a phone interview from New Jersey, where he recently moved with his family to supervise the multi-center clinical trial that is taking place in Israel, the United States and Europe.
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