Current perspectives in stem cell research for knee cartilage repair
Patrick Orth,1 Ana Rey-Rico,2 Jagadeesh K Venkatesan,2 Henning Madry,1,2 Magali Cucchiarini2
1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2Center of Experimental Orthopaedics, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, Germany
Abstract: Protocols based on the delivery of stem cells are currently applied in patients, showing encouraging results for the treatment of articular cartilage lesions (focal defects, osteoarthritis). Yet, restoration of a fully functional cartilage surface (native structural organization and mechanical functions) especially in the knee joint has not been reported to date, showing the need for improved designs of clinical trials. Various sources of progenitor cells are now available, originating from adult tissues but also from embryonic or reprogrammed tissues, most of which have already been evaluated for their chondrogenic potential in culture and for their reparative properties in vivo upon implantation in relevant animal models of cartilage lesions. Nevertheless, particular attention will be needed regarding their safe clinical use and their potential to form a cartilaginous repair tissue of proper quality and functionality in the patient. Possible improvements may reside in the use of biological supplements in accordance with regulations, while some challenges remain in establishing standardized, effective procedures in the clinics.
Keywords: cartilage repair, knee, focal defects, osteoarthritis, stem cells, clinical trials
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