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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 406159, 9 pages
Review Article

Spinal Fusion in the Next Generation: Gene and Cell Therapy Approaches

1Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Francesco Vito, 1, 00168 Rome, Italy
2Departement of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Agostino Gemelli, 8, 00168 Rome, Italy
3Latium Musculoskeletal Tissue Bank, Largo Francesco Vito, 1, 00168 Rome, Italy

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 28 October 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editors: H.-Y. Lin and H. Park

Copyright © 2014 Marta Barba 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.


Bone fusion represents a challenge in the orthopedics practice, being especially indicated for spine disorders. Spinal fusion can be defined as the bony union between two vertebral bodies obtained through the surgical introduction of an osteoconductive, osteoinductive, and osteogenic compound. Autogenous bone graft provides all these three qualities and is considered the gold standard. However, a high morbidity is associated with the harvest procedure. Intensive research efforts have been spent during the last decades to develop new approaches and technologies for successful spine fusion. In recent years, cell and gene therapies have attracted great interest from the scientific community. The improved knowledge of both mesenchymal stem cell biology and osteogenic molecules allowed their use in regenerative medicine, representing attractive approaches to achieve bone regeneration also in spinal surgery applications. In this review we aim to describe the developing gene- and cell-based bone regenerative approaches as promising future trends in spine fusion.