Degenerative joint diseases have seen a rise in the past few decades. Among them, the
prevalence of Osteoarthritis (OA) is the highest as compared to the other types of arthritis. It involves
the degradation of cartilage in joints that ultimately leads to their degeneration. Globally, it affects
over 200 million people and the statistics are only expected to increase over the next few decades. The
treatment approach for initial stages of OA involves changes in the lifestyle, use of analgesics,
NSAIDs and other medications. As the condition worsens, the end point treatment is generally a prosthetic implant
followed by surgery. These approaches are short-term and the patients are often found complaining of the post-surgical
complications of the invasive methods. This has created the need for less invasive and sustainable treatment approaches.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to be differentiated into various kinds of cells making stem cell based
therapy an attractive approach for both, researchers and medical experts. We aimed at fabricating biomaterials and microstructures
that would provide these MSCs with support and would allow them to organize themselves. The biomaterial
and micro-structures fabricated by the “Layer-by-Layer”(L-b-l) method exhibited extracellular matrix (ECM) like
properties enhancing the adhesion and differentiation of the MSCs. Similar activity has been claimed by researchers of
Osaka University who have filed a patent for self-organization for osteochondral regeneration. It was observed that the
human MSCs organized themselves better on the biomaterial that we had fabricated for them. We also found that the
micro-structures had the potential to give rise to a complex scaffold system.
Keywords: Biomaterials, extracellular matrix, layer-by-layer, mesenchymal stem cells, osteoarthritis.
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