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Clinical Trials

USC Sports Medicine Clinical Trials

A sports injury or trauma to cartilage around the knee, hip or shoulder joint can lead to osteoarthritis later in life—or, worse yet, the need for a new joint. So can the wear and tear that comes with age. One day, new drugs and stem-cell therapies may stop the degeneration before it starts.

Dr. Petrigliano, in collaboration with Dr. Denis Evseenko the La Briola Chair in Orthopaedic Genetic Medicine and Vice Chair of Research at the USC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, are developing new techniques to protect, repair and regrow articular cartilage, the layer of connective tissue that covers the ends of bones and enables joints to move smoothly, to stop the progression of osteoarthritis and curb the need for joint replacement surgery.

They embedded cartilage-forming cells—derived from the pluripotent stem cells that can become any kind of cell in the body—in a collagen membrane. Using surgical glue, they implanted it like a patch on a cartilage injury in a miniature pig. The cells integrated into the host tissue and stayed there for six months, repairing damage and becoming indistinguishable from the host cartilage with a cocktail of growth factors. A recent study published in Nature Regenerative Medicine demonstrated that implantation of these cell-seeded scaffolds was highly efficient in repairing cartilage defects, resulting in the re-growth of cartilage as well as the incorporation of transplanted cells into the defect.

The aim of this work is to prevent a cartilage injury in a relatively healthy joint from developing into osteoarthritis and eventually requiring a joint replacement. The therapeutic product known as Plurocart, will be evaluated in clinical trials set to start in 2024. This study will be supported by a $6M CLIN1 grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

If you think you may be a candidate to participate in this clinical trial, please contact Zaira Herrera at 323-442-5822 or zaira.herrera@med.usc.edu.

At a Glance

Dr. Frank Petrigliano

  • Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at USC
  • Chief of the Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine
  • Team physician for the LA Kings and USC Athletics
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