Leeds dad is first for pioneering therapy

SCALING THE HEIGHTS: Dave Kyle who received pioneering cell transplant therapy on his knee reaches the top of Pen-y-ghent.
SCALING THE HEIGHTS: Dave Kyle who received pioneering cell transplant therapy on his knee reaches the top of Pen-y-ghent.
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A dad of two who could not walk without cruches has become one of the first in Yorkshire to benefit from pioneering cell transplant therapy.

Dave Kyle, from Leeds had suffered debilitating pain in his right knee for 15 years since and during the last few months before surgery could not walk without using crutches.

The construction firm director explained how suddenly it happened. “One day I felt a sharp pain in my knee when I knelt down at work and that pain turned into an ache which stayed with me for years.

“Then, nine years ago, I took my children skiing and had a bad fall which made it worse. I lived in a three-storey house and I found it almost impossible to climb the stairs. It got to the point where the pain was so severe I knew I couldn’t carry on.”


Dave, 49, heard about the latest cell therapy developments which were being used for cartilage repair. He was referred to Mr Ram Venkatesh, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital and a member of BASK (British Association for Surgery of the Knee).

Mr Venkatesh explained the different options for repairing cartilage, including Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, where a patient’s own tissue is removed and the harvested cartilage is genetically modified before being transplanted back into the injured joint.

Dave’s knee had serious articular cartilage damage involving the weight bearing part of the joint. “I didn’t want a false knee replacement. The cartilage damage was extremely painful but the rest of my knee was normal.”

He underwent the first of the two-stage knee cartilage transplant cell therapies in March 2013 and the second procedure eight weeks later. Cartilage was removed from his knee and sent to a culturing facility in Europe overseen by the Human Tissue Authority.

Spire Leeds Hospital is the only hospital in Yorkshire with the Human Tissue license to perform this operation.

“One of the benefits of this procedure is that since the cartilage cells come from the patient themselves they are not likely to be rejected when they are transplanted back into the injured joint,” added Mr Venkatesh

“It takes about a year for the implanted cells to develop to full strength and the procedure requires extensive rehabilitation. Dave is now seeing the benefits.

In September he completed a trek to the top Pen-y-ghent. “It took three and a half hours and I used a walking stick for support, but I did it. I was over the moon.” He now plans to climb the Three Peaks in one day.

“I am so grateful to Mr. Venkatesh. I can get on with my life now and make up for the lost years”.