The Use of Growth Factors and Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Orthopaedics
Medha Kanitkar1, Hiteshkumar D Tailor*, 1, Wasim S Khan 2
1 University College London Medical School, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
2 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK
Stem cell therapy is an exciting and upcoming branch of tissue engineering with application in the field of orthopaedics. The most commonly used type of stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), can be easily isolated from bone marrow or synovium and cultured in vitro. Newer techniques using tissue engineering to regenerate musculoskeletal tissue by using biomimetic materials are now being studied. These osteoconductive three dimensional constructs seeded with MSCs are highly porous, biodegradable and biomechanically stable scaffolds which do not evoke an immunogenic host cell response. Research has shown the importance of growth factors in guiding and modulating the differentiation of MSCs in order to obtain the required cell type. Gene-based delivery systems have aided the delivery of sustained quantities of these growth factors. The evidence from growth factor enhanced tissue engineering studies for tissue healing looks very positive. This is a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates molecular, biochemical and clinical techniques with developmental and engineering processes. Initial studies indicate an immense potential for cell based strategies to enhance current orthopaedic approaches in skeletal tissue reconstruction. Ultimately, there is a need for randomised controlled trials on human populations to apply these findings to a clinical setting. Nevertheless, stem cell based tissue engineering in orthopaedics shows a promising future.
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