In Jerusalem, Israeli start-up CartiHeal Ltd has developed an implant to help regenerate cartilage and bone, with the goal to commercialise a product that could bring relief to millions of sufferers of cartilage knee pain within a few years.
Earlier this month a 30-year-old woman who after frequent efforts to repair the cartilage in her knee, received an implant made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonite, which will help renew her cartilage and bone over time.
The implant was developed by the Israeli start-up CartiHeal Ltd., which is running a global clinical trial of its technology and eager to get endorsement from the US Food and Drug Administration in the next few months.
CartiHeal believes it has found the solution for people who have cartilage defects with knee osteoarthritis, a deterioration of cartilage and the underlying bone.
Nir Altschuler, the CEO and founder of CartiHeal said “millions of patients are looking for a solution to the degeneration of knee cartilage. We hope we can provide a breakthrough with our technology.”
He said: “Cartilage has very limited ability to be repaired. Finding a solution for cartilage regeneration is one of the holy grails of medicine.”
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common degenerative joint diseases, affecting more than 25 percent of people over 18. Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. It can be from an injury, such as a torn ligament or cartilage, or from medical conditions that can also can cause knee pain.
To date, around 80 patients in leading hospitals abroad have been recruited for the trial, the company said.
The start-up, which operates from Kfar Saba, employs 30 people and has raised approximately $60 million, from investors including Elron Electronic Industries, the Accelmed investment firm, Access Medical Ventures, Peregrine Ventures, and the aMoon Fund of Marius Nacht and Dr. Yair Schindel. Other strategic investors include Johnson & Johnson, through its JJDC investment arm and Bioventus.
The implant in Israel was performed by Dr. Adi Friedman, director of the Center for Arthroscopic Surgery and Sports Injuries, of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.