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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015, Article ID 946031, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/946031
Review Article

Cell-Based Therapies Used to Treat Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease: A Systematic Review of Animal Studies and Human Clinical Trials

1The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR-PHI), Monash University, Clayton Branch, P.O. Box 6178, South Yarra, VIC 3141, Australia
2Departments of Surgery and The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR-PHI), Monash University, Clayton Branch, 27-31 Wright Street, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia
3Proteobioactives Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 35, Brookvale, NSW 2100, Australia
4Mesoblast Ltd, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
5Department of Surgery, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia
6Department of Neurosurgery, Alfred Hospital, Level 5, The Alfred Centre, Commercial Road, Prahran, Melbourne, VIC 3168, Australia
7The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR-PHI), Monash University, Clayton Branch, 27-31 Wright Street, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 20 January 2015; Revised 8 April 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Bruno Péault

Copyright © 2015 David Oehme et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Low back pain and degenerative disc disease are a significant cause of pain and disability worldwide. Advances in regenerative medicine and cell-based therapies, particularly the transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells and intervertebral disc chondrocytes, have led to the publication of numerous studies and clinical trials utilising these biological therapies to treat degenerative spinal conditions, often reporting favourable outcomes. Stem cell mediated disc regeneration may bridge the gap between the two current alternatives for patients with low back pain, often inadequate pain management at one end and invasive surgery at the other. Through cartilage formation and disc regeneration or via modification of pain pathways stem cells are well suited to enhance spinal surgery practice. This paper will systematically review the current status of basic science studies, preclinical and clinical trials utilising cell-based therapies to repair the degenerate intervertebral disc. The mechanism of action of transplanted cells, as well as the limitations of published studies, will be discussed.