Task Force Provides Insights and Direction on Cell-Based Therapies

A new report highlights the latest advances in cell-based therapies for the treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and it identifies key unanswered questions that should be addressed through ongoing research. The report is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and concurrently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, and was issued by a joint Task Force of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the Orthopaedic Research Society.

With cell-based therapies, cells are injected, grafted, or implanted into a patient. Due to the lack of rigorous clinical studies and randomized clinical trials, however, these treatments should be considered experimental. The Task Force provides specific recommendations and ethical considerations for preclinical and clinical investigations of cell-based therapies, and it highlights the importance of determining the direct and indirect effects of these therapies on disease.

“This is an area of enormous public interest and scientific importance,” said lead author and task force co-chair Regis O’Keefe, MD, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc degeneration, and tendinopathies cause pain, impair function, and can lead to a sense of helplessness. Currently a large number of unproven cell-based therapies are marketed to a vulnerable population of patients that suffer from musculoskeletal disease.” “The goal of the task force was to provide, in an unbiased way, a balanced assessment of the current state of cell-based therapies and to define the scientific agenda needed to develop more proven and effective approaches to treatment in the future,” said task force co-chair Rocky Tuan, PhD, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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