Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which affects more than 50% of the population aged over 60 years old, according to Arthritis Foundation. People that aged over 60 is predicted to exceed 770 million in 2020. No effective treatment is currently available to slow down or halt the progression of osteoarthritis. Clinicians mainly rely on pain management strategy, such as weight reduction, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), intra-articular hyaluronans, acupuncture and glucosamine, to treat osteoarthritis before the condition worsens. After that, a risky and painful total joint replacement must be performed. A new technological breakthrough is necessary to treat the enormous number of patients suffering from osteoarthritis at early-stage and mid-stage.
The fundamental causes of osteoarthritis remain unknown but it is well-known that damaged cartilage tissue can lead to serious osteoarthritis and pain. Improving the condition of cartilage is not possible with current technologies. Common treatments like intra-articular hyaluronans can only ease the pain temporarily but does not solve the issue in the long-term. The condition of the joint will worsen as the disease progress and eventually, patients will need to undergo total joint replacement as the last resort.
NOVUS has developed a new technology that can significantly slow down the progression of osteoarthritis by halting the osteoarthritis progress cycle. Based on the latest researches and the computer simulation of the knee joint model, a new minimal invasive surgery for treating osteoarthritis is now possible. This brings hope to the numerous patients suffering from osteoarthritis. The key technology behind this minimal invasive surgery involves the injection of a synthetic biomaterial to the knee joint with a small gauge needle. The synthetic biomaterial is then capable of curing the bone and cartilage. With well-designed standard operating procedures, outpatient surgery can be performed without the need to stay in hospital overnight. The ease of operation and the up-scalable manufacturing procedures will allow our technologies to be applied in high volume at different countries.
First Step of Treatment – Treating the Cause of Pain under the Cartilage
Recent findings showed that the pain in osteoarthritis patients mainly comes from the subchondral bone, which is located right below the cartilage. Over 50% of patients suffering from osteoarthritis have tiny bone void, also known as bone cyst, in the subchondral bone. The existence the bone cyst changes the local physical environment and affects the loading experienced by the cartilage above, leading to accelerated deterioration of cartilage. To slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, bone cysts have to be rooted out.
The diameter of bone cysts can range from 1mm to 5mm and the diameter is too small to be reached by usual surgical techniques and bone fillers.
Our technology of bone healing injection is a novel biomaterial which is engineered to perform like the ordinary cement while having a ultra-low viscosity. The ultra-low viscosity allows the biomaterial to be applied using needle with extremely small opening down to 0.3 mm in diameter. This allow ultimate flexibility in surgery and making minimally-invasive surgery virtually non-invasive.
Second Step of Treatment – Paving the New Cartilage
Repairing cartilage has been proven to be a mission impossible. This can be attributed to the fact that the cell division in the cartilage is very slow. Surgical intervention is usually needed in order to repair the damaged site. Over the years, technologies have been developed to replace the damaged cartilage tissue with the healthy tissue from the patients themselves or donors, however, the complexity of the surgery and the lengthen rehabilitation are major setback of this technique. Patents may have to spend a week in hospital, followed by 3 to 6 months of non-weight bearing or low-weight bearing rehabilitation, and gaining reasonable functionality in 12 months.
Our technology of cartilage healing injection is a groundbreaking technology using compounds made of clusters tailored and coordinated to three-dimensional structures. The compounds have ultra-low viscosity, which can be injected into the affected site where the compounds will solidify and resemble the properties of cartilage in 30 minutes. The surgery is simple which only required simple injection of cartilage repairing gel using real-time image guidance. Patients can go back home on the same day of surgery and regain functionality in a week time.