A Review of the State of Tissue Engineering of Cartilage

An open access review paper: "In tissue engineering fields, recent interest has been focused on stem cell therapy to replace or repair damaged or worn-out tissues due to congenital abnormalities, disease, or injury. In particular, the repair of articular cartilage degeneration by stem cell-based tissue engineering could be of enormous therapeutic and economic benefit for an aging population. ... Many people over the age of 40 suffer from degeneration or injury of their cartilage, leading to a reduced workforce and increased medical expenses. Thus, improvements in cartilage repair using a cell-based tissue engineering approach will greatly benefit public health and the economy. Personalised cell therapy for cartilage repair using cell-based tissue engineering technologies would provide clinically practical methods for producing a cartilage tissue equivalent. A number of biomaterials are available as scaffolds, and research continues to help us understand more details about how tissues develop and which cell type should be applied. These studies have provided details of how tissues grow in vitro and in vivo, but clinical applications depend on working with surgeons and the translation of these materials and technologies to in vivo models that are more relevant to patients. When cell-based cartilage tissue engineering technologies are applied to new animal models, we attempted to find better functional compositions for successful applications than were observed in previous studies. Although stem cell-based cartilage tissue engineering systems may demonstrate success even in animal models, there are a number of new challenges when the technologies are applied to humans. Further research on in vivo application must address immunological issues, integration of host and stem cell-based engineered cartilage, and the variability of tissue development in an in vivo environment, depending on surrounding disease processes, age, or physical activity. Therefore, interdisciplinary studies are not only necessary but crucial before cell-based cartilage tissue engineering can reach its full potential in cartilage repair and regeneration."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191858/

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