Division I Track Athlete Undergoes Cartilage Regrowth Treatment

Youngstown State University track team member Jasmine Smyles has been told many times that she has the perfect last name. Lately, this has proven true.

On a recent visit to see Dr. Brian Cole at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, she was all smiles when Dr. Cole reported that her recovery from a brand-new treatment for knee pain was right on track.

A runner since age eight, Jasmine grew up training on less-than-ideal surfaces near her west side of Chicago home. Growing up, she also played basketball competitively, but decided to focus on running track in college.

One year into her track career at Youngstown State competing in the 200 and 400-meter events, she developed pain in her right knee. Like many determined athletes and just 19 years old, she assumed it was temporary and ran through the pain—for two years.

Finally, it became difficult to walk, much less run.

Jasmine’s persistent pain led her health care provider to order an MRI to further evaluate her knee. She was diagnosed with a localized area of complete cartilage loss, a devastating diagnosis for collegiate track runner. Determined to avoid a more invasive treatment, like a knee replacement, she began to do her research.

Finding a specialist

She searched ‘cartilage expert’ online and read about Dr. Brian Cole, a sports medicine surgeon and Director of the Cartilage Restoration Center at Rush University Medical Center. She was pleased to learn that a physician so knowledgeable about cartilage issues—and so familiar with high level athletes—was right in her back yard.

At their first meeting, Dr. Cole listened to her story and clearly understood her desire to run competitively again. He talked with Jasmine and her parents about options which included a clinical trial his team is leading using an innovative new procedure for knee cartilage regrowth. They were intrigued, so he further explained that in surgery, using a microfracture procedure, he would create tiny holes in the surface of the bones in her knee, so that her bone marrow cells would repopulate where her cartilage had deteriorated. A material called GelrinC would be injected over the microfracture and a UV light would be used to create a structure on which cartilage would grow.

Jasmine and her parents agreed to have her participate in the clinical trial and she underwent the microfracture/GelrinC surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

Now, three months post-surgery, Jasmine is walking pain-free and participating in regular physical therapy. She is looking forward to her six-month follow up at which time she will undergo another MRI to evaluate her progress.

She is all smiles when she talks about now being pain-free and perhaps one day running again.

Clinical Trial Information

If you have pain from cartilage loss in one or both knee and are interested in this clinical trial, call (312) 432-2817 or (312) 432-2818.

To enroll in the study, patients must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 50;
  • Suffering from knee pain but are not yet candidates for knee replacement;
  • OR already diagnosed with a cartilage abnormality and not yet a candidate for knee replacement;
  • Willing to undergo initial evaluation and imaging to determine if pain is caused by cartilage abnormalities;
  • Motivated to participate in the GelrinC microfracture study.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Brian Cole, call 877-MD-BONES or request an appointment here.