A device which can produce artificial cartilage with improved mechanical properties, closer to native tissues to heal knee cartilage defects
Group Members
Brian Heng, Kevin Law, Ting Yu Loe, Vivek Mohanan, Naresh Sabapathy, Zhe Yong Teyo
Supervisors
Dr Andrew Hamilton, Dr Martin Stolz
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Approximately a third of people aged 45 and over in the UK have OA of the knee. The defining feature of OA is the damage and loss of articular cartilage due to age, disease, or trauma.

Tissue engineering has shown great potential for articular cartilage repair to treat OA. Tissue engineering is based on the cell-seeding of scaffolds which are then mechanically stimulated in bioreactors. However, a major limitation of current commercialised cartilage bioreactors is that the cell-seeded scaffolds are stimulated in only one direction, or Degree of Freedom (DoF). This results in engineered cartilage with reduced mechanical properties that would be easily worn out after implantation.

The hypothesis of this work is that cartilage needs to be recreated within the bioreactor with an in vitro physical environment similar to the one experienced by knee joint articular cartilage in vivo. By introducing more complex mechanical stimuli, we aim to generate cartilage that can better resemble the structure and function of its native self. Therefore, this project aims to develop a novel biomimetic knee joint bioreactor that produces mechanical stimulation utilizing three DoFs, instead of the typical one DoF in all commercially available cartilage bioreactors.

Computational simulation such as FEA and CFD are used to aid the design process. Lastly, FEA will be used to predict the compressive strain of the cartilage at the target site.

 

 

List of subsystems of the bioreactor
Closeup view of the femur (1), tibia (2), scaffold (3) and force sensor (4)
Mechanism for tibia actuation
Mechanism for femur actuation
Render of the biomimetic knee joint bioreactor