Articular cartilage injuries lead to progressive degeneration of the joint with subsequent progression to osteoarthritis, which currently becomes a serious health and economic issue. Due to limited capability for self-regeneration, cartilage repair remains a challenge for the present-day orthopedics. Currently, available therapeutic methods fail to provide satisfactory results. A search for other strategies that could regenerate a hyaline-like tissue with a durable effect and adequate mechanical properties is underway. Tissue engineering strategies comprise the use of an appropriately chosen scaffold in combination with seeding cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) provide an interesting new option in regenerative medicine with solid preclinical data and first promising clinical results. They act not only through direct cartilage formation, but also due to paracrine effects, such as releasing trophic factors, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and promoting angiogenesis. The MSC can be applied in an allogeneic setting without eliciting a host immune response. Out of the various available sources, MSC derived from Wharton's jelly of an umbilical cord seem to have many advantages over their counterparts. This article details a novel, single-staged, and minimally invasive technique for cartilage repair that involves dry arthroscopic implantation of scaffold-embedded allogenic mesenchymal stem cells isolated from umbilical cord Wharton's jelly.
Keywords: Articular cartilage; Cartilage reconstruction; Chondral defect; Matrix aided implantation; Mesenchymal stem cells; Tissue engineering; Wharton’s jelly.