The repair of large articular cartilage lesions is still a major challenge. In particular, the fixation of the grafts to the subchondral bone plate represents an unresolved problem. In this work, we present a completely novel concept based on a modular lattice, combining building blocks of different ceramic materials, anchoring pins and space for cell-loaded hydrogels or other scaffold materials. This concept targets not only circumscribed cartilage defects but also large osteoarthritic lesions. It spans the bridge between cell therapy and artificial joint arthroplasty, and thus is of significant medical and socioeconomic impact.
Keywords: 3D cell culture; cartilage; cell adhesion; extracellular matrix; modular scaffold.