NIH Researcher Speaks at HSS about Future Stem Cell Use in Joint Replacement

Predicts Stem Cell-Based Tissues Will Replace Metallic Prosthetics Used in Current Joint Replacement Surgery

New York, NY—November 5, 2004

For Immediate Release

The metallic prosthetic devices currently being used to replace joints in the body destroyed by osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases will one day be replaced by healthy bone and cartilage tissue grown in the laboratory or inside the body from healthy stem cells combined with manmade materials, a top National Institutes of Health (NIH) researcher predicted during a medical conference at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City.

"Current prosthetic devices, while effective, have a finite life expectancy," said Rocky Tuan, Ph.D., Chief, Cartilage Biology and Orthopedics Branch National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH. "Recent research shows that the new discipline of tissue engineering is poised to yield promising biologically based solutions."

Dr. Tuan was a guest speaker at the Hospital for Special Surgery’s 86th Annual Alumni Association meeting. His talk "Cell-based Tissue Engineering and Regeneration: The Future Paradigm for Orthopedics," was part of a two-day series of presentations that reviewed the latest medical and surgical approaches to arthritis and other degenerative diseases. More than 330 physicians who trained at HSS, a world leader in musculoskeletal health treatment and research, returned to the hospital for the continuing medical education series.

Dr. Tuan said his interdisciplinary team of engineers, cell and molecular biologists and clinicians are focusing on using adult stem cells and scaffolds made of nanofibrous, biodegradable polymers to generate bone and cartilage constructs in the laboratory. Specific growth factors and molecular signals are then provided to ensure proper formation of the desired tissue-type. Dr. Tuan, who made his remarks Friday, Nov. 5, said the goal is to develop new healthy tissue that could be implanted in the body as a structural and functional substitute for damaged tissue.

As the leader in musculoskeletal care in New York State, HSS expects a significant increase in patients with damaged joints as the population ages. Industry experts predict increased growth in the need for orthopedic care over the next 10-15 years.

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the world’s largest academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics and No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2016-2017), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at


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