Human Fibrocartilage Transplantation for Osteochondral Defects

By Braxton Chan
Senior Category (Grades 11-12)
Innovation | Biology

This project had been selected to advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19), from the East Kootenay Regional Science Fair which took place before the COVID-19 crisis hit British Columbia.
The required ethics forms have been submitted for this project.

Each year 10,000 Canadians are affected by Osteochondral defects in their joints. An Osteochondral defect is a small area of cartilage that has been lost from either trauma or a disease. This loss of cartilage is often only the size of a pinky nail. However, it can major discomfort for whoever has it.

Presently, there is no adequate treatment for this disorder. This year, my innovation was to come up with a novel treatment for OCD. I discovered that fibrocartilage tissue is unique as it has a high propensity to reattach at its insertion site when surgically repaired. I chose to transplant fibrocartilage into the osteochondral defects in human articular joints. After 7 weeks the transplants went through materials testing to see if they could withstand the normal physiologic load of a joint. Gross pathology and histological examination was then undertaken to see if the fibrocartilage transplant biologically adhered to the defect area.

This project answers the two questions that are critical to allow for a clinically applicable solution to OCD. First, the fibrocartilage is capable of withstanding normal physiologic loads during weight-bearing. Second, the fibrocartilage remained viable and was shown to oteoappose with the subchondral bone of the osteochondral defect. This is an exciting novel surgical solution for patients with OCD.

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