Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Engineered Knee Ligament

PostedJanuary 31, 2010

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins: Surgical reconstruction of the A-C-L uses donor soft tissue – like tendons – and attaches it to the leg bones.  But the real A-C-L blends soft tissue into bone.  Helen Lu, a Columbia University bioengineer, is re-creating that in the lab.

Helen Lu: We think that it’s better to pre-engineer the integration outside the body.

Randy Atkins: Each end of the artificial A-C-L is cartilage because, in the body, bones fuse with cartilage naturally.  Engineers are crafting the perfect mix of calcium content for the rest of the ligament.

Helen Lu: We’ve already characterized all the mechanical properties, so we know what the design criteria are.

Randy Atkins: Lu says a structure that mimics the natural A-C-L will minimize joint stress.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M, WTOP Radio.


Dr. Lu thinks the bioengineered A-C-L could be ready for the clinic within this decade.




  • Information on the ACL