Suffering from arthritis? I feel your pain. Or, more accurately… I used to. A total hip replacement “cured” me of the painful condition in my right hip. However, my 20’s were no walk in the park. Cartilage deterioration came with increasing pain and decreasing mobility. It sucked.
I’ve lived 17 years now with my artificial hip. However, excruciating memories of cartilage loss are still vivid enough for me to do a little happy dance (since I can!) at the news coming out of Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
Researchers, led by Associate Professor Stina Simonsson, have successfully bioprinted and grown cartilage in a test tube! Surgeons have compared the test-tube cartilage wtih the real thing and have found it remarkably similar. Although not yet ready for human implantation, this is a giant step forward in the treatment of arthritis!
How about a cherry on top? The researchers managed to do all this without testing on animals of any kind. Prior to test-tube success, mice were used to grow cartilage for research.
Yeh, my heart bleeds a little for these test subjects. I have to admit though… when I was in the midst of mind-numbing arthritic pain, I probably wouldn’t have given them much thought. Heck, I had no energy to give anything much thought other than @!#$%^!&)(&^%!
Now that I’m out of the pain fog, I’m thankful that there are people out there devoting themselves to advancing knowledge without causing harm to animal test subjects.