Few Words About Ligamed Project


Health and mental benefits of sports activities cannot be overestimated. Depending on the age and capabilities: running, crossfit, football, skiing, squash and other are practiced, even if the only reason is to be fashionable. However, every year thousands of children under 15 years old and young woman in their 40’s have problems with knee ligament rapture. It is hard to imagine how painful physically it can be. Current treatment of knee injuries is not as effective, as it could be, of course. Percentage of full recovery is relatively low and consequences of re-rapture are painful and expensive for the patient and health insurance system, respectively. The aim of material science engineers, biologists and physicians is to help people with knee ligament injury.


Ligaments transfer forces from one bone to another and provide joint stability. Ligaments are strong bands of connective tissue and their role is also to connect the bones outside of joints, providing stability of the skeletal system. An example of ligaments may be cruciate ligaments of the knee (ACL), further divided into front and rear. 


The project name: Development of bioactive, hybrid graft for regeneration of ACL ligaments, LIGAMED will be carried from April 2016 to March 2019. It is granted by National Centre for Research and Development, see more information in “Lider Program”.


The project involves development of biodegradable scaffold for regeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Using the knowledge of the materials science, mechanics, biology and medicine, hybrid scaffold will be developed. It will be characterized by the architecture, structure, chemical and mechanical properties biomimetic to allograft. In the long term, the innovative scaffold would allow ligament regeneration and re-modelling in place of scaffold fixation.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is among those most vulnerable to injury. This ligament is attached to the inner surface of the lateral femoral condyle and extends obliquely downward. The final trailer ligament is located in the front of the tibia. During daily physical activities and sports activities ligaments are vulnerable to injuries and damage. The injuries occur frequently, and many of them are eligible for orthopedic treatment. Ligament damages can be divided into three categories. Each group requires a different method of treatment.  In case of III group of injuries- complete rupture of ligament, treatment consisting in grafts reconstruction is required. None of them is perfect. Four types of grafts are currently used for this type of treatment:


- autograph (graft derived from the patient's own tissues)- gold standard,


- allograph (graft derived from a donor),


- xenograph (graft derived from an animal donor),


- artificial implants or scaffold (tissue engineering techniques).


Global aging significantly affects the amount of mechanical knee injuries. Currently, increasing sports activity in each age group contributes to many orthopedic injuries. In 2013, the American Association for the Statistics (ASA) announced that 1.3 million young people experience serious orthopedic injuries in the USA every year. According to the European Injury Database (EUIDB), an annual average of 1.2 million people need hospitalisation because of sports injuries.


According to a report published in 2014 by Transparency Market Research entitled “Orthopedic Soft Tissue Repair Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends And Forecast, 2013 to 2019” the global market for soft tissue repair in 2013 was estimated at 5.6 billion USD. It is expected to grow at 7.2% (according to CAGR-the Cumulative Annual Growth Rate) in the years 2013 - 2019. This means that the value is estimated to exceed 8.5 billion in 2019. ACL and PCL reconstructions constitute the highest percentage of regeneration (20%) from all soft tissue and an increase in this group is estimated at 8.3% according to CARG in 2013 - 2019. These figures include costs as well as costs of transplantation surgery (also repeated) rehabilitation and medication.