Partner 3: University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The University of Zagreb (UZagreb), founded in 1669 is the oldest and biggest university in South-Eastern Europe. It is also a strongly research-oriented institution, contributing over 50 percent of the total research output of the country. The multi-disciplinary group involved in this project includes experts from the University Hospitals, the Veterinary School as well as the Medical School. The core competence of the group lies in the great experience in planning and conducting large animal experiments for cartilage and bone regeneration studies, as well as substantial clinical experience in the treatment of complex injuries of the articular cartilage.

The University’s extensive knowledge and experience has been gained through domestic and international projects and newly renovated facilities provide excellent conditions for successful animal study. The Department of Histology and Embryology at the School of Medicine has extensive experience with analysis and scoring of the cartilage explants. Furthermore, academic hospitals affiliated with the University have extensive experience in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with complex articular cartilage injuries.

Role in the project: The University of Zagreb will be responsible for conducting a pre-clinical animal study on a sheep model. The main tasks performed will include implantation, follow-up, explantation and analyses of cartilage explants. The outcome will inform the clinical study which will be, in part conducted by the University. UZagreb will obtain ethical approval, recruit patients, perform pre-operative diagnosis (physical examination, x-ray, MRI) surgery and follow-up plus postoperative evaluation of the patients (functional tests, imaging).