An Overview on NOVOCART® 3D, a Knee Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) Product
Articular cartilage is found throughout the human body and plays an important role in joint function and health. The smooth, white substance covers the ends of each bone and provides a pain-free, moving surface for the bones while the joint is in motion. When cartilage becomes damaged from an injury or from chronic overuse, patients often develop osteoarthritis and the painful symptoms associated with the condition. If patients living in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area lose cartilage down to the bone, a surgical articular cartilage treatment may be necessary. Dr. Nikhil Verma, orthopedic knee specialist, offers NOVOCART® 3D, a knee autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) product.
Articular cartilage treatment depends on a variety of factors, including location, depth and size of cartilage defect, associated knee injuries, patient’s age and patient’s activity level. Dr. Verma typically recommends surgery if a focal cartilage defect is present. A focal defect involves both the cartilage and a piece of underlying bone. These cartilage injuries occur from an acute traumatic injury to the knee or an underlying disorder of the bone.
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) as an Articular Cartilage Treatment
ACI is a two stage procedure where a biopsy of healthy cartilage is first removed from the knee joint. Cartilage cells are harvested from the biopsy tissue, expanded in a lab and then replanted in the patient’s knee during a second surgery to facilitate growth of new cartilage surfaces.
What is NOVOCART® 3D?
NOVOCART 3D is an investigational product, as well as the subject of a Phase 3 clinical trial in the United States that has been used in Europe since 2003. It is considered an autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) product, meaning that the patient’s own cartilage is harvested and cultivated to produce the implant. The cultivated cells are distributed on a biphasic three dimensional collagen scaffold and then the scaffold and cells are implanted into the knee’s articular cartilage after the damaged cartilage is removed by Dr. Verma.
Like an ACI articular cartilage treatment, NOVOCART 3D is performed in a two stage procedure.
- Stage 1– During stage 1, samples of the patient’s knee cartilage is removed from a non-weight bearing location in the knee joint during an arthroscopic procedure. The cartilage samples are then sent to the Aesculap Biologics manufacturing laboratory where the cells (chondrocytes) are separated from the surrounding cartilage structure and cultivated. Approximately three weeks later, the cells are added to a bilayer collagen sponge where they distribute themselves and attach to the scaffold fibers. This cell/sponge combination is known as NOVOCART 3D.
- Stage 2– During stage 2, Dr. Verma will access the injured knee joint and remove the damaged cartilage through a small incision. NOVOCART 3D is then shaped to fit the space that remains when the damaged cartilage is removed and the product is implanted. The implant is secured with absorbable sutures and/or biodegradable pins.
As with any surgical articular cartilage treatment, NOVOCART 3D has benefits and risks. Dr. Verma will discuss the treatment process in great detail with each patient at the consultation.
For additional resources on NOVOCART 3D, a surgical articular cartilage treatment, please contact Dr. Nikhil Verma, orthopedic knee specialist in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area.