Kangaroo Cartilage Could Inspire A New Era Of Knee And Shoulder Treatments

24/09/2015 12:28 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Erika Fish / Queensland University of Technology

Have you ever looked at a kangaroo and thought 'man, I wish my body was more like that?'.

No? Us neither. But a team at Queensland University of Technology has hopped into some research that’s found kangaroo shoulder cartilage is a “suitable analogue” for humans.

As PhD student Namal Thibbotuwawa says: "kangaroos use their arms for grabbing, punching and lifting as we do".

kangaroo

See? Just like us. Picture: Gettystock

Project leader Yuantong Gu said the team at the Science and Engineering Faculty originally looked at kangaroos because of their similarity to people.

"We are studying kangaroo shoulder cartilage as a proxy for human cartilage because kangaroos are a similar-sized biped [two-footed] with shoulder joints similar to humans," Gu said in a statement.

While we're not ready for kangaroo transplants for future knee and shoulder injuries,Gu said the research would help design synthetic cartilage that mimics roos to replace cartilage worn out by age, arthritis or injury.

"Cartilage is a complex tissue with a number of key components -- we need to find out what their roles and properties are and then we can try to replicate them," Gu said.

"We want to provide the fundamental knowledge needed to develop artificial implants with enhanced biomechanical properties to relieve the pain of degraded shoulder joints and restore mobility."

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