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University of Missouri-Columbia

Jesse Hall and the columns on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, pictured on July 28, 2010. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford,

COLUMBIA, Mo.  • Medical patients awaiting joint transplants may soon have greater access to donor cartilage thanks to a new storage method developed by University of Missouri researchers.

Dr. James Cook is a professor of orthopedic surgery in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine. A Cook-led research team that includes colleagues from Columbia University has discovered a way to more than double the storage time of joint cartilage taken from cadavers. The cartilage is used to repair damaged ligaments in patients' knees, ankles, shoulders, hips and elbows.

The current maximum storage time is 28 days. Cook says those limits mean nearly 80 percent of donated tissue can't be used. The researchers' new system preserves transplant-quality tissue for up to 63 days

The research will be published in the Journal of Knee Surgery.