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Gene Ther. 2004 Feb;11(4):417-26.

Stem cells as vehicles for orthopedic gene therapy.

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Skeletal Biotech. Lab., Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem.


Adult stem cells reside in adult tissues and serve as the source for their specialized cells. In response to specific factors and signals, adult stem cells can differentiate and give rise to functional tissue specialized cells. Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to differentiate into various mesenchymal lineages such as muscle, bone, cartilage, fat, tendon and ligaments. Adult MSCs can be relatively easily isolated from different tissues such as bone marrow, fat and muscle. Adult MSCs are also easy to manipulate and expand in vitro. It is these properties of adult MSCs that have made them the focus of cell-mediated gene therapy for skeletal tissue regeneration. Adult MSCs engineered to express various factors not only deliver them in vivo, but also respond to these factors and differentiate into skeletal specialized cells. This allows them to actively participate in the tissue regeneration process. In this review, we examine the recent achievements and developments in stem-cell-based gene therapy approaches and their applications to bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament tissues that are the current focus of orthopedic medicine.

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