Cell therapy for disc degeneration–potentials and pitfalls.

Orthop Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;35(1):85-93
Authors: Brisby H, Tao H, Ma DD, Diwan AD
Disc degeneration is considered a major source of pain in patients with chronic low back pain. Novel strategies to cure or decrease the symptoms and increase the patient’s quality of life and function are under development. Until recently conservative treatment and fusion surgery were the main therapeutic options. Disc prostheses are undergoing clinical evaluation. The potential for cell transplantation to the intervertebral disc with mature autologous disc cells, chondrocytes, or stem cells is in early stages of investigation. Cell transplantation potentially can increase proteoglycan production and induce disc regeneration or slow down the degeneration process. In animal models, transplantation of autologous disc cells and chondrocytes (derived from costal cartilage) has been demonstrated to be feasible and may slow disc degeneration.
PMID: 15062721 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]