Body Regenerate Thyself: Stem cells become part of the treatment arsenal for orthopedic conditions

BioMechanics via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge—September 3, 2007

A college football player on a sports scholarship who tears an anterior cruciate ligament at the beginning of the season could conceivably see his athletic career end. But stem cell-based treatments being developed may not only allow the athlete to return to his sport during the same season - and keep his scholarship - but also restore his previous level of performance.

Scott Rodeo, M.D. an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, both in New York, and an associate team physician for the New York Giants, is conducting research on the use of stem cells to better repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments and rotator cuffs. His research involves the use of stem cells transfected with DNA for a particular gene that provides instructions to overproduce a particular protein.

Studies conducted in rats have produced encouraging results, Rodeo said, with the technique stimulating new tissue proliferation. The results have been presented at various meetings but have not yet been published.

Rodeo estimated that these techniques may be tried in human patients in three to five years. In the meantime, he and his colleagues are trying to figure out the best way to apply stem cells to injured tissue. He hopes that the techniques they are developing will speed healing, allow patients to return to sports activities more quickly, and potentially prolong athletic careers.

Read the full story at BioMechanics.

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