Spire Southampton Hospital completes pioneering knee surgery

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Pioneering treatment sees patient use cells from her own body to heal both knees at Spire Southampton Hospital

Seeing Liz progress from her first operation only a year ago to having both knees repaired has been fantastic.

A Hampshire woman has become the first in the South to have cartilage damage in both her knees repaired using regenerative cell technology.

Liz Coveney, from Hythe, came to Spire Southampton Hospital for this pioneering surgery last year on her right knee, and her successful recovery has led to the same operation being carried out on her left knee, to further improve her mobility and lifestyle. She is now recovering from the latest surgery.

Both procedures have involved taking cells from a non weight bearing part of the knee, and treating them using ChondroCelect regenerative technology, developed by TiGenix, which makes the cells reproduce. The cells are then put back into the knee where they can continue to grow and replace the damaged cartilage.     

ChondroCelect is the only cell based product which has received a marketing authorisation as an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product – this means it is no longer classed as experimental and can be routinely used, no longer restricted to medical research or trials.

In a landmark move, two of the country’s largest insurers have now announced they will routinely fund all patients whose doctors recommend they have this surgery. Previously patients were authorised on a case by case basis by the insurer, rather than relying on medical expert opinion, meaning many were unable to undergo the procedure.

James Blann, Business Director at TiGenix said, “In a challenging economic climate it is critical that manufacturers can provide substantive clinical and health economic evidence, together with innovative managed access schemes, that can facilitate insurers to have confidence in providing cover for their patients to receive the right therapies for their indications.”

Phillip Chapman-Sheath, the consultant orthopaedic knee surgeon at Spire Southampton Hospital who performed Liz’s surgery, said, “Seeing Liz progress from her first operation only a year ago to having both knees repaired has been fantastic. She has seen a great improvement since having the surgeries, and I have no doubt that this technology will go on to have a positive effect on many other people’s lives too.”

A video that includes interviews with Liz Coveney, Philip Chapman-Sheath and Spire Southampton Hospital Director Jane Whitney-Smith is available on YouTube, and can be accessed via this link.

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Liz Pusey
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