Stem cell therapy in orthopaedics

By Diego Correa, MD, MSc, PhD, and Victor M. Goldberg, MD

Musculoskeletal injuries are a major financial burden to the U.S. health system and the most common cause of long-term pain and physical disabilities. More than 33 million injuries are reported in the United States annually; nearly half involve soft tissues such as cartilage, tendon, and ligament.

Unlike bone, which has an intrinsically high healing capacity, soft tissues have a limited capacity for self-repair. As a result, scar tissue forms, which has structural and functional characteristics that are inferior to the original tissue. The emerging field of regenerative medicine aims to overcome the tissue scarring process by providing the required elements (cells, inductive molecules, and local environment) to promote true tissue regeneration.

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