According to an article from Newswise, a team of researchers are studying tissue engineering for the repair of knee injuries such as a torn meniscus. The meniscus is the section of cartilage between the bones of the thigh and shin. Damage to this cartilage is not particularly uncommon and can be caused by any sort of intense physical activity when the knee joint is rotated or put under heavy strain.
However, in these injuries, a surgery is often necessary in order to restore function; the cartilage does not heal itself easily. Typically, the surgery requires the removal of the torn section, but this means that there is less cartilage behind to bear body weight. Tissue-engineering would allow for the cells of the meniscus to regenerate, grow and heal themselves for effectively. Surgery would no longer be necessary.
The dense intracellular matrix in the meniscus consists of sugars and proteins. Two specific proteins, TAZ and YAP, are known to have some importance in the healing process, but their precise role was not clear. Scientists decided to test their effect by engineering mice to have either both or one of the proteins deleted in their skeletal stem cells.