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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 ten years. To find out more about this story, go to wtopnews.com and type in keyword “Engineering Innovation” or go to N-A-E – dot - E-D-U – slash – RADIO.