Musculoskeletal tissue engineering by endogenous stem/progenitor cells
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- Nie, H., Lee, C.H., Tan, J. et al. Cell Tissue Res (2012) 347: 665. doi:10.1007/s00441-012-1339-2
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From its inception, tissue engineering has had three tenets: cells, biomaterial scaffolds and signaling molecules. Among the triad, cells are the center piece, because cells are the building blocks of tissues. For decades, cell therapies have focused on the procurement, manipulation and delivery of healthy cells for the treatment of diseases or trauma. Given the complexity and potential high cost of cell delivery, there is recent and surging interest to orchestrate endogenous cells for tissue regeneration. Biomaterial scaffolds are vital for many but not all, tissue-engineering applications and serve to accommodate or promote multiple cellular functions. Signaling molecules can be produced by transplanted cells or endogenous cells, or delivered specifically to regulate cell functions. This review highlights recent work in tissue engineering and cell therapies, with a focus on harnessing the capacity of endogenous cells as an alternative or adjunctive approach for tissue regeneration.