A Non-Surgical Method for Repairing Damaged Cartilage Using Viral Delivery Of Genes Encoding Growth Factors (Breakthrough)

Me: This for me is a huge breakthrough in the application of being able to combine the fields of genetic engineering, tissue engineering, and gene therapy. What we are seeing is that a single injection of growth factors, which are just proteins, when slightly altered from genetic engineering can then be injected onto the surface of the articular cartilage of the knee and result in cartilage formation meaning that more invasive approaches like using arthroscopy and/or microfracture surgery may not be needed for healing.

This proves the idea which I had proposed earlier that we can possibly cause cartilage to form just from an injection of growth factors into bone. At this point, the information is little but I am still a little confused on whether it is growth factors or genes which are injected into the knee area.

Let’s remember from our studies on pathways like the Wnt/Beta-Catenin, PI3K/ATK/mTOR, and MAPK signaling pathways like growth factors themselves are proteins, not cells. They act as ligands or substrates for the communication between the outside and inside of a cell outer membrane. We find that a lot of the growth factors we are familiar with like the TGF-Beta, BMP, GDF, IGF-1 don’t reach into the cell but only bind to receptors on the cell wall on the outside, which cause a certain pathway in the protoplasm/cytoplasm to be initiated. The signaling causes the nucleus to receive different types of signals resulting in certain genes being turned on or off.

Update 2/14/2013

After looking back at the claims and information made on this patent I found I have reached the conclusion that the injection of delivery is only growth factors, not genes. It would seem that the growth factors, in whatever combination or mixture they are in, gets injected to the surface or slightly underneath the surface of the articular cartilage which is starting to degenerate/deteriorate. The growth factors touch the cartilage, resulting in the diffusion effects which means the growth factors manage to get past the cartilage’s protective layers like the 2 layered perichondrium. The cartilage itself is not cell packed like so many other tissue but has the chondrocytes rather scattered around. It would require that the growth factors diffuse and seep around the extra-cellular matrix until they reach the surface of the chondrocytes. The chondrocytes themselves have certain receptors on the cell membrane which are willing substrates to the substrates/ growth factors. The growth factors will link to the receptor forming a complex, and causing the chondrogenetic signal pathways to begin. The signalling reaches to the nucleus, causing the genes that make the proteins for growth factors and mitosis possible. The cells also multiple resulting in more waste from the chondrocytes released, being collagen and proteoglycans. The net result and effect is that over time the cartilage manages to reform back. The thing I am wondering at this point is whether the cartilage that is formed is maybe the less fibrous arranged fibrocartilage or is it the hyaline cartilage that the researchers and us have been hoping for.

Implications For Height Increase:

This suggest that one of the critical steps in one my old proposed ideas on height increase is possible. However the existence of some cartilage already there for cartilage seed building makes it show that the 2nd step is possible, but the 1st step needs to have more research. WE can inject growth factors into the epiphysis but without the cartilage already there we may not form the type of cartilage culture or colony we want for possible a pseudo growth plate regeneration.

This new patent or invention I managed to find from this link HERE

A Non-Surgical Method for Repairing Damaged Cartilage In the Knee: Viral Delivery of Genes Encoding Growth Factors

A Non-Surgical Method for Repairing Damaged Cartilage In the Knee: Viral Delivery of Genes Encoding Growth Factors

Full description


Annually, more than 2 million Americans injure cartilage in their knees. There is a range of existing treatment options from arthroscopy and microfracture to osteochondral implant and autologous cell implant available to patients to repair damaged cartilage. In each of these cases, treatment requires invasive surgery and a substantial amount of rehabilitation.


From a commercial perspective, a non-invasive treatment option would provide patients with a significant improvement over existing therapies and would likely become a front line therapy for repairing damaged cartilage.


Dr. Ernest Terwilliger and Dr. Magali Cucchiarini have developed a new method of repairing damaged cartilage tissue without the use of invasive surgery. Their novel method utilizes viral delivery of genes encoding growth factors that enable regeneration and repair of damaged cartilage tissue in the knee. In a rabbit animal model of cartilage damage Drs. Terwilliger and Cucchiarini have shown that delivery of a particular class of viral vectors encoding specific growth factors to the injured knee greatly promotes the cartilage regeneration and repair process.


Arthroscopy, microfracture, osteochondral implant, autologous cell implant and total knee replacement to repair damaged cartilage require invasive surgical procedures. This novel method developed by Drs. Terwilliger and Cucchiarini requires a simple injection at the site of injury, which would be considerably more desirable for the patient than invasive surgery.


A Provisional US Patent application is pending. BIDMC is seeking a corporate partner to develop and commercialize the technology, which is available for licensing on an exclusive basis. In particular, Dr. Terwilliger is seeking support for additional preclinical experiments, potentially including large animal mammalian models, and eventually human clinical trials. Please enquire quoting reference no. 838.

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