Regeneration of meniscus cartilage in a knee treated with percutaneously implanted autologous mesenchymal stem cells.
Mesenchymal stem cells are pluripotent cells found in multiple human tissues including bone marrow, synovial tissues, and adipose tissues. They have been shown to differentiate into bone, cartilage, muscle, and adipose tissue and represent a possible promising new therapy in regenerative medicine. Because of their multi-potent capabilities, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) lineages have been used successfully in animal models to regenerate articular cartilage and in human models to regenerate bone. The regeneration of articular cartilage via percutaneous introduction of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) is a topic of significant scientific and therapeutic interest. Current treatment for cartilage damage in osteoarthritis focuses on surgical interventions such as arthroscopic debridement, microfracture, and cartilage grafting/transplant. These procedures have proven to be less effective than hoped, are invasive, and often entail a prolonged recovery time. We hypothesize that autologous mesenchymal stem cells can be harvested from the iliac crest, expanded using the patient’s own growth factors from platelet lysate, then successfully implanted to increase cartilage volume in an adult human knee. We present a review highlighting the developments in cellular and regenerative medicine in the arena mesenchymal stem cell therapy, as well as a case of successful harvest, expansion, and transplant of autologous mesenchymal stem cells into an adult human knee that resulted in an increase in meniscal cartilage volume.