Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells and Their Orthopedic Applications: Forging a Path towards Clinical Trials

Stem Cells Int. 2010 Dec 16:2010:519028. doi: 10.4061/2010/519028.


Mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) are nonhematopoietic multipotent cells capable of differentiating into mesenchymal and nonmesenchymal lineages. While they can be isolated from various tissues, MPCs isolated from the bone marrow are best characterized. These cells represent a subset of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) which, in addition to their differentiation potential, are critical in supporting proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. They are of clinical interest because they can be easily isolated from bone marrow aspirates and expanded in vitro with minimal donor site morbidity. The BMSCs are also capable of altering disease pathophysiology by secreting modulating factors in a paracrine manner. Thus, engineering such cells to maximize therapeutic potential has been the focus of cell/gene therapy to date. Here, we discuss the path towards the development of clinical trials utilizing BMSCs for orthopaedic applications. Specifically, we will review the use of BMSCs in repairing critical-sized defects, fracture nonunions, cartilage and tendon injuries, as well as in metabolic bone diseases and osteonecrosis. A review of of the United States National Institute of Health was performed, and ongoing clinical trials will be discussed in addition to the sentinel preclinical studies that paved the way for human investigations.