Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rewriting Life

Silky Knee

A material based on a modified form of natural silk could replace torn knee ligaments.

Tearing the anterior cruciate ligament that traverses the knee joint is one of the most common sports injuries. The ligament doesn’t heal by itself, and most people who damage it must undergo reconstructive surgery and six months of rehabilitation. To decrease both the pain and the duration of the recovery, Tissue Regeneration, a Medford, MA-based startup, is creating a replacement ligament based on technology developed at Tufts University. To make the replacement, which also helps the body form new ligament tissue, the company modifies the structure of natural silk. The modifications allow cells in the knee to infiltrate and adhere to the material, and they encourage the growth of new tissue. The material has also been treated so that the silk scaffold slowly degrades, gradually transferring weight-bearing responsibilities to the newly formed natural ligament. The material could also be used in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. The company hopes to start human trials in 2006 and have the silk-based device on the market by 2008.

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.