Improving Osteoarthritis Care with Likarda Core Shell Spherification Microbeads

Nov 30, 2023 | Press Release

Likarda’s scientists recently published a paper in the journal, Bioengineeing, that demonstrates the improved outcomes when stem cells are injected into the joint with ViscoCell, a hydrogel formulated specifically for arthritic joints.  

Osteoarthritis (OA) is an extremely prevalent condition that results in limited mobility, especially in the elderly. Knee OA is the most common form of OA. In fact, over 10% of all people over 60 years of age have symptomatic knee OA. Knee OA is particularly troubling both because of its high prevalence in the general population, but also because it is presenting at earlier ages, especially in women. Most importantly, people with OA are at a higher risk for mortality compared to the general population.

The newly published study illustrates how Likarda’s chemists matched the hydrogel physical properties to those of joint synovial fluid to optimize the administration. Viability of the cells in the hydrogel improved over time and their genetic identity was stable. When placed in the knees of osteoarthritic rats, the animals that got stem cells alone has some minimal improvement in the joint integrity, primarily with slightly more cartilage. Whereas, animals that received approximately the same number of stem cells that were delivered in ViscoCell beads had a dramatically improved response with regeneration of the joint in some animals. The pictures below illustrate the differences.  

The animal on the left did not receive any treatment and the joint has no cartilage (stained red) and is bone-on-bone. In the middle, the animal received an injection of stem cells alone. There is some improvement in the joint integrity, with minimal amount of new cartilage developing. However, the surface is still bone-on-bone. The animal on the right, received the same dose of stem cells, but first encapsulated in Likarda’s ViscoCell and now the bony surface is covered with healthy cartilage.

The lead author, Dr. Megan Hamilton, summarizes the importance of the findings.

“Our study highlights the pivotal role of Likarda’s ViscoCell hydrogel in significantly improving outcomes for osteoarthritis. By precisely tailoring the hydrogel to synovial fluid, we optimized stem cell delivery, resulting in enhanced viability and stable genetic identity. The profound impact on joint regeneration observed in our study signifies a promising breakthrough, holding the potential to revolutionize osteoarthritis treatment and enhance patient well-being.”

About Likarda

Likarda is a leading biotech company specializing in the development of enabling technologies for the delivery of both cell therapies and large molecule biologics. These advancements aim to enhance therapeutic efficacy and offer patients a sustainable solution for their chronic or life-threatening diseases. At the heart of Likarda’s innovation is the Core-Shell Spherification (CSS) technology. This revolutionary approach coats cells and biologics with inert hydrogels, ensuring they remain at their intended target location within the body and are shielded from potential degradation. This customizable platform is pivotal in maintaining cell viability and optimizing the delivery of biologics. For more insights, visit

Media Contact

Lisa Stehno-Bittel
Founder and President



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