The EU project MEFISTO (‘Meniscal functionalised scaffold to prevent knee Osteoarthritis onset after meniscectomy‘) has just been launched. It aims to take advantage of novel approaches to counteract the epidemic of post-meniscectomy knee osteoarthritis.
What are the technological innovations of the novel approaches? In contrast to conventional methods, biologically active functionalised nanobiomaterials can interact with the surrounding tissue. The development is therefore aimed at these nanobiomaterials.
Two approaches, one goal
In the first proposed solution, a biodegradable scaffold will promote revascularisation in the peripheral zone, while leaving the inner zone avascular, reflecting the native meniscal tissue. In a second approach, functionalisation with drug delivery micro/nanoparticles of a non-biodegradable device will provide modulation of inflammation.
Potential relief for national health systems
For most of the 20th century the preferred approach to meniscus treatment was the removal of the damaged tissue (meniscectomy). This practice expanded with the advent of arthroscopy. In recent decades the understanding of meniscal function, and consequently, the management of meniscal injuries, has continued to evolve with increasing commitment among physicians towards the preservation of the meniscus whenever possible. However, based on the observation that meniscal resection is still widely performed, a huge rate of post-meniscectomy osteoarthritis can be expected in the European population in the coming years. In particular, the treatment of osteoarthritis in young to middle-aged patients is challenging, often involving the sacrifice of the patients’ knee joints (metal resurfacing) and represents a social and economic burden for national health systems.
Solutions depending on the stage of osteoarthritis
The project MEFISTO will profile and identify the population of patients who, after meniscal resection, are at higher risk of early compartment degeneration and will provide evidence in vitro and in animal models towards a personalised approach for the patient in the future. Younger patients with early osteoarthritic changes will be addressed by treatment in the form of a controlled vascularised bioactive biodegradable meniscal scaffold, which will regenerate the native meniscus. A bioactive non-biodegradable meniscal prosthesis, acting as a mechanical unloading device and a drug delivery system, with the capacity to modulate the inflammatory environment will be targeted at patients with advanced osteoarthritis. A socio-economic analysis of the efficacy of existing meniscal substitutes will complete the project.
SCIPROM has accompanied MEFISTO since the proposal preparation phase. We now run the project office and support MEFISTO through our expertise in management and communication.
For more information on MEFISTO, please visit https://www.mefisto-project.eu.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 814444 (MEFISTO).