I am not sure how likely it is that we will be using implants made by silkworms; however, this is an interesting idea. Scientists and surgeons have been looking for a synthetic substitute for cartilage, ligaments, and tendons for at least 40 years – and so far there is little evidence that any of these products have actually worked.
The ideal substance to replace cartilage needs be easily attachable to the surrounding or healthy cartilage, and at the same time it needs to encourage the body to turn the synthetic substance into real cartilage. Meanwhile, it needs to function as a strong enough substitute to bear the stresses incurred in a joint while the healing occurs. The same parameters must be met for ligament reconstruction or replacement.
You can string a piece of Gore-Tex across the knee joint to substitute for the ACL, and it will feel strong and stable for the first few weeks, but two bad things will then happen:
1. It will wear out because everyday stresses will cause too much strain and stress. In the native ACL, there is a blood supply and healing response to constantly remodel and heal from everyday wear and tear.
2. Less important and less likely to occur: the body may form an inflammatory response to the foreign material or it may scar over time.
The real hope is to create (and perhaps silkworm products are the answer, I really don’t know yet) a temporary structure or cord that we can seed with the patient’s own cells and then the patient can grow their own replacement tissue.
Future knee implants will be made by silkworms | Health24
It may sound like science fiction but researchers are currently developing knee implants to improve osteoarthritis pain and inflammation using the silk produced by silkworms!