A cost-effective and readily available source of stem cells — human fat — may eventually enhance rates of human spine fusion, based on results of a study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 75th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Researchers from several U.S. spine centers evaluated the efficacy of using adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) transduced with BMP-2 (bone morphogenetic protein) in an athymic rat posterolateral fusion model. They found fusion results were better in these animals (group 1) vs. those in four other groups of animals treated with such other approaches as ADSCs alone, various doses of BMP-2 alone, and ADSCs treated with osteogenic medial and exogenous BMP-2.
"ADSCs are promising as cellular delivery agents, particularly since we saw bone formation in unfavorable areas,” said Wellington K. Hsu, MD, of Middleton, WI, who presented the results.
One interesting finding: Group 1 animals who had BMP delivered to the surgical site via stem cells even achieved fusions at proximal levels that investigators did not prepare during surgery.
Investigators objectively assessed new bone formation using micro-CT scans.
Hsu said potential clinical uses included long segments or multiple levels of spine that need fusing. Cellular delivery vehicles such as this may avoid BMP complications and could assist with percutaneous therapies, he added.
Illustration: Microsoft Clipart.
Ortho Supersite (03/06/08)
Abstract (The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American). 2008; 90:1043-1052)