Researchers find new approach to healing meniscus injury

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to help one of the most common knee injuries.

Chances are you know someone who has torn a meniscus — that thin, dense connective tissue in the knee. 

Dr. Robert Mauck, professor in the department of orthopedic surgery, says the meniscus heals when healthy cells move into the damaged area and deposit healthy tissue. 

But, often the cells are too hard and can't squeeze into the space.

"What we discovered in the study was that if you soften the nucleus, the essential organelle that stores your DNA in cells, if you soften that structure these cells can squeeze through the small pores in this tissue more easily. So, they get to the wound site more readily and have a better chance of starting repair,” he explained. 

He says the medicine to soften the nucleus would be put on the meniscus tear during surgery for better outcomes more quickly. 

He says this should also work on skin cartilage ligaments and tendons.