The OsteoChondral Platform

Mechanical loading

LifeTec Group™ is developing the next step for their Osteochondral Platform, a platform that allows bone and cartilage to be cultured together, while each tissue still has their own isolated environment. In the first generation of this platform, these tissue samples were cultured statically, without any load on them. The second generation already allowed for a compressive (or normal) load on the samples, just like in your knee while standing.

 

Biomechanical loading in the knee

Walking simulation

When you are walking, with every step you take the cartilage and bone in your knee joint experiences a compressive load. When you put weight on the knee it is compressed, and when you take the next step with your other leg the weight will be released. This could already be simulated with our previous OsteoChondral platform, but there is an additional loading component: shear. When you rotate the knee joint, the cartilage layer from your upper leg slides along the cartilage from your lower leg, and it is this sliding loading component that we have now added to our system.

We redesigned our culture plate into a circular array and replaced the linear motor with one that can apply both a compressive and a rotational motion. The combination of compression and sliding (or shear) more closely mimics the environment of cartilage in the joint than having no loading or only compressive loading. This provides a useful and important tool to bridge the gap between limited cell-based studies and costly animal trials.

The new platform can culture 6 samples at a time and can load these samples to a specified compression with micrometer accuracy. During this loading it is possible to add a sliding shear as well, at a specified sliding distance. This means the samples can undergo lifelike conditioning to closely mimic what happens in the knee in-vivo, while still having all the control that an explant study offers.

Programmable loading

The video shows the indentors moving along a programmed trajectory. The trajectory can be changed for different loading conditions of the tissues that will be place underneath, and consist of an up/down motion to compress the tissues and a rotating/sliding motion to apply a shear load.

What's in it for you

The new system can culture 6 samples at a time and can load these samples to a specified compression with micrometer accuracy. During this loading it is possible to add a sliding shear as well, at a specified sliding distance. This means the samples can undergo lifelike conditioning to closely mimic what happens in the knee in-vivo, while still having all the control that an explant study offers. This is especially useful for implant studies, to analyse integration under load, but can also offer new insights for drug dose response studies or other screenings, before moving to animal trials. Based on these studies, the most promising candidates are selected for the next steps in the pre-clinical phase. This way, our clients can significantly reduce the number of animals needed and save time, effort and money.

If this culturing system with  bi-axial mechanical loading is useful for your project, or if you are interested in a similar application that will need adjustments based on this design, then please get in touch with us!

 

Head of Research & Training

Linda Kock

R&D engineer

Dave Wanders

R&D Engineer

Marcel Wijlaars

Need more information? Contact Davy!

R&D engineer
Dave Wanders
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