There is new hope for those in need of hip, or other joint, replacements as engineers have developed a new technique for growing cartilage from human embryonic stem cells.
The team from Rice University found that cartilages can be generated that mimic the different types of cartilage found in the human body. They hope the technique can be adapted to produce the robust cartilage sections that can be of clinical usefulness.
Lead researcher Dr Kyriacos Athanasiou said: "Because native cartilage is unable to heal itself, researchers have long looked for ways to grow replacement cartilage in the lab that could be used to surgically repair injuries.
"This research offers a novel approach for producing cartilage-like cells from embryonic stem cells and it also presents the first method to use such cells to engineer cartilage tissue with significant functional properties."
The results are published in the September issue of the journal Stem Cells.