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UCLA stem cell scientists first to track joint cartilage development in humans
Date:12/13/2013

Stem cell researchers from UCLA have published the first study to identify the origin cells and track the early development of human articular cartilage, providing what could be a new cell source and biological roadmap for therapies to repair cartilage defects and damage from osteoarthritis.

Such transformative therapies could reach clinical trials within three years, said the scientists from UCLA's Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

The study, led by Dr. Denis Evseenko, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and head of UCLA's Laboratory of Connective Tissue Regeneration, was published online Dec. 12 in the journal Stem Cell Reports and will appear in a forthcoming print edition.

Articular cartilage, a highly specialized tissue formed from cells called chondrocytes, protects the bones of joints from forces associated with load-bearing and impact and allows nearly frictionless motion between the articular surfaces the areas where bone connects with other bones in a joint.

Cartilage injury and a lack of cartilage regeneration often lead to osteoarthritis, which involves the degradation of joints, including cartilage and bone. Osteoarthritis currently affects more than 20 million people in the U.S., making joint-surface restoration a major priority in modern medicine.

While scientists have studied the ability of different cell types to generate articular cartilage, none of the current cell-based repair strategies including expanded articular chondrocytes or mesenchymal stromal cells from adult bone marrow, adipose tissue, sinovium or amniotic fluid have generated long-lasting articular cartilage tissue in the laboratory.

For the current study, Evseenko and his colleagues used complex molecular biology techniques to determine which cells grown from embryonic stem cells, which can become any cell type in the body, were the progenitors of cartila
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Contact: Shaun Mason
smason@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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