How far have biological therapies come in regenerative sports medicine?

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2018 Jul;18(7):785-793. doi: 10.1080/14712598.2018.1492541. Epub 2018 Jul 9.


Introduction: Regular engagement in sports produces many health benefits, but also exposes to increased injury risk. The quality of medical care available is crucial not only for sports trauma but also to avoid overuse syndromes and post-traumatic degenerative conditions.

Areas covered: We provide background information on some clinical needs in sport injuries and describe the main families of biological products used in clinical practice. We also discuss limitations of the current clinical experience.

Expert opinion: Sport and exercise impairment affects different segments of the population with different needs. The exceptional demands of elite athletes and subsequent media coverage have created hype around regenerative therapies. Statistical evidence, whether weak (cell products) or moderate (PRPs), is not enough to drive medical decisions because of the heterogeneity of the biological products available and their application procedures. Moreover, the specific needs of the different segments of the population along with the available clinical evidence for each musculoskeletal condition should be considered in the decision-making process. There is urgent need to develop regenerative protocols combined with post-intervention rehabilitation, and gather meaningful clinical data on the safety and efficacy of these interventions in the different populations segments.

Keywords: Sport injuries; cell therapy; joint conditions; mesenchymal stem cell (MSC); platelet-rich plasma; regenerative medicine; tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Biological Therapy / methods
  • Biological Therapy / trends*
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy / etiology
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy / prevention & control
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods
  • Regenerative Medicine / trends*
  • Sports / physiology
  • Sports Medicine / methods
  • Sports Medicine / trends*