Cell-based approaches are among the principal interventions in orthobiologics to improve tendon and ligament healing and to combat degenerative processes. The number of options available for investigation are expanding rapidly and investigators have an increasing number of cell types to choose from for research purposes. However, in part due to the current regulatory environment, the list of available cells at clinicians' disposal for therapeutic purposes is still rather limited. In this review, we present an overview of the main cellular categories in current use. Notable recent developments in cell-based approaches include the introduction of diverse sources of mesenchymal stem cells, pluripotent cells of extra-embryonic origin, and the emerging popularity of fully differentiated cells such as tenocytes and endothelial cells. Delivery strategies are discussed and a succinct discussion of the current regulatory environment in the United States is presented.
Keywords: augmentation; biologics; cell-based; orthopedics; repair; tendon.