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Stem cell technology for tendon regeneration: current status, challenges, and future research directions

Authors Lui PP

Received 21 August 2015

Accepted for publication 27 October 2015

Published 11 December 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 163—174

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/SCCAA.S60832

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ruopeng Feng

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Bernard Binetruy

Pauline Po Yee Lui

Headquarter, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China

Abstract: Tendon injuries are a common cause of physical disability. They present a clinical challenge to orthopedic surgeons because injured tendons respond poorly to current treatments without tissue regeneration and the time required for rehabilitation is long. New treatment options are required. Stem cell-based therapies offer great potential to promote tendon regeneration due to their high proliferative, synthetic, and immunomodulatory activities as well as their potential to differentiate to the target cell types and undergo genetic modification. In this review, I first recapped the challenges of tendon repair by reviewing the anatomy of tendon. Next, I discussed the advantages and limitations of using different types of stem cells compared to terminally differentiated cells for tendon tissue engineering. The safety and efficacy of application of stem cells and their modified counterparts for tendon tissue engineering were then summarized after a systematic literature search in PubMed. The challenges and future research directions to enhance, optimize, and standardize stem cell-based therapies for augmenting tendon repair were then discussed.

Keywords: stem cells, tendon repair, tendon tissue engineering, tendon injuries

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