Current Issues and Regulations in Tendon Regeneration and Musculoskeletal Repair with Mesenchymal Stem Cells.
CURRENT STEM CELL RESEARCH AND THERAPY, 3
Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stromal cells residing within the connective tissue of most organs. Their surface phenotype has been well described. Most commonly, mesenchymal stem cells demonstrate the ability to differentiate into mesenchymal tissues (bone, catailge, fat, etc...), however, under the proper conditions these cells can differentiate into epithelial cells and neuroectoderm derived lineages. Their developmental plasticity also depends on the ability of mesenchymal stem cells to alter the tissue microenvironment by secreting soluble factors, as well as their capacity for differentiation in tissue repair. It is the cell-matrix interaction which defines the tissue characteristics. The molecular and functional heterogeneity of this cell population may confound interpretation of their differentiation potential, but it is this heterogeneity that is believed to provide for their therapeutic efficacy. Stem cell therapies are an attractive therapeutic approach for soft tissues as they offer a vehicle for repair and regeneration at the end of a needle. The early introduction of stem cell treatments into the therapeutic armamentarium involves both commercial and non-commercial multidisciplinary partnerships and has occurred in a climate of regulatory reform, so not all the relevant information resides in the public domain, but early clinical studies have shown promising results. Against this backdrop, novel techniques and early results of a small series of tendon and musculotendinous junction interventions are being published and other ongoing studies are yet to report their results. The issue of ensuring governance of these novel technologies falls upon both the scientific community and the established licensing authorities.
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