The new Center for the Functional and biological reconstruction of knees at Humanitas has finally opened. Its director is Professor Maurilio Marcacci, who worked in this field for over 30 years.

Clinical activity and research will give patients innovative, break-through solutions. But what does the team actually do? We asked Professor Elizaveta Kon, Supervisor of the Translational Orthopedy Section. Doctor Francesco Lacono directs the other part of the Center at Humanitas San Pio X, which is the Prosthetic Surgery and Articular Biological Reconstruction Section.

“The goal of our work is the reconstructive treatment of knees. In fact, we do all kinds of surgeries, treating both sport issues and degenerative diseases, with prostheses or biological reconstructions, using infiltrations with plasmatic growth factors and stem cells. Both in clinical practice and in research, our work focuses on patients”, the professor points out.

Articular damages

Joints are prone to wear too, due both to normal aging and to traumas or inflammatory diseases. These damages contribute to alter the relationship between joints, that should instead interact in a fluid fashion. Moreover, it can affect all articular components (bone surfaces, synovial membrane, cartilages, ligaments). And in the long run the function of joints may be limited or utterly hindered.

As Professor Marcacci explained, “Our aim is reconstructing a joint and its function by using biological systems, with three goals.
Restoring the biomechanical balance, giving new stability to joints by restoring their natural biomechanical conditions. This is accomplished via the correction of the alteration of load bearing axes and of joint stability via osteotomies, plastic remodeling of surfaces or joint reconstruction. We also replace protective fiber components such as meniscuses.
Reconstructing surfaces with biotechnological tissues facilitating the osteochondral reconstruction by means of natural healing capabilities.
Modulating this process with break-through biological cell methods, or different ones that have yet to be defined”.

The importance of research

Professor Marcacci’s team puts a constant clinical activity together with a tireless research work in the field of surgical technique innovation and medical technology development. In particular, they put great effort in studying innovative treatments to reconstruct joints, meniscus transplants and the reeducation of professional competitive sportsmen.

This team holds some patents and leads translational research projects for the development and validation of new prosthetic implants. Another line of research is about the reconstruction of cartilages. From the development of innovative biomaterials to the study of new applications for multipotent cells and plasmatic growth factors.

“Our research work mainly focuses on bone and cartilage regenerative medicine, as well as on the reconstruction of joints. Our ultimate goal is creating a complete biological prosthesis”, Professor Kon says. She also tells us, “We try to keep research and clinical practice together, in order to give patients the best treatment standard we can. The constant feedback our patients give us is very helpful, also after surgeries”.

The work team

The team participates to many international research projects and clinical studies. In many cases it coordinates them, especially if they are projects about the use of biological products (growth factors, stem cells, bioengineered scaffolds) for the treatment of bone and cartilage issues due to degenerative problems or traumas.

Professor Maurilio Marcacci, Supervisor of the Center, and Professor Elizaveta Kon, Supervisor of the Translational Orthopedy Section (both are teacher at Humanitas University), work with Doctor Tommaso Bonanzinga, Doctor Berardo Di Matteo and Doctor Giovanni Raspugli.