Purpose of review: With the rapid and ongoing evolution of regenerative and sports medicine, the use of stem/stromal cells in ligament repair and reconstruction continues to be investigated and grow. The purpose of this review was to assess available methods and formulations for stem/stromal cell augmentation as well as review early pre-clinical and clinical outcomes for these recently emerging techniques.
Recent findings: Recent literature demonstrates promising outcomes of stem/stromal cell augmentation for ligament repair and reconstruction. Multiple groups have published animal models suggesting improved healing for partially transected ligaments as well as histologic re-approximation of native bone-tendon interfaces with the use of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells in reconstructive models. Human studies also suggest improved outcomes spanning from higher patient-reported outcome scores to magnetic resonance imaging evidence of ligament healing in the setting of anterior cruciate ligament tears. However, clinical studies are only recently available, relatively few in number, and not necessarily accompanied by standard-of-care controls. There is increasing availability and growing animal and clinical evidence demonstrating potential benefit of stem/stromal cell augmentation for tendon healing. However, to date, there is a relative paucity of high-level human evidence for the routine use of stem/stromal cells for ligament repair and reconstruction in the clinical practice. This field contains substantial promise and merits further, ongoing investigation.
Full Access Link: Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine