The ZiNIT Project: The Arthritis Challenge
Arthritis is classically considered to be a degenerative, progressive and irreversible disease. The current clinical paradigm for the care of arthritic joints relies largely upon the use of medications and reduced activity until the pain and disability are severe enough to warrant joint resurfacing or replacement.
For small joint (extremity) arthritis in humans there are many available surgical procedures and several prosthetic options that all yield compromised results. Reduced functional strength, decreased range of motion and limited longevity are some of the unresolved limitations of current options.
For canine hip arthritis/dysplasia, total joint replacement now exists but it is only considered long after soft tissue atrophy has taken its toll; it is costly and rehabilitation is a major challenge.
Biologic attempts to replace cartilage in arthritic joints have been unsuccessful and remain experimental due to the avascular, slow healing nature of cartilage and the destructive movement and loading of the joint environment.
These challenges are not insurmountable when using a biomimetic solution.