The role of stem cell therapies in degenerative lumbar spine disease: a review

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Degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine are extremely common. Ninety percent of people over the age of 60 years have degenerative change on imaging; however, only a small minority of people will require spine surgery (Hicks et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 34(12):1301-1306, 2009). This minority, however, constitutes a core element of spinal surgery practice. Whilst the patient outcomes from spinal surgeries have improved in recent years, some patients will remain with pain and disability despite technically successful surgery. Advances in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies, particularly the use of mesenchymal stem cells and allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells, have led to numerous clinical trials utilising these cell-based therapies to treat degenerative spinal conditions. Through cartilage formation and disc regeneration, fusion enhancement or via modification of pain pathways, stem cells are well suited to enhance spinal surgery practice. This review will focus on the outcomes of lumbar spinal procedures and the role of stem cells in the treatment of degenerative lumbar conditions to enhance clinical practice. The current status of clinical trials utilising stem cell therapies will be discussed, providing clinicians with an overview of the various cell-based treatments likely to be available to patients in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429 - 445
Number of pages17
JournalNeurosurgical Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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