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Researchers Use Novel Technique to Stimulate Stem Cells in Damaged Tendon to Enhance Healing

San Diego, CA—March 17, 2017

A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury that often necessitates surgical repair. Despite advances in techniques, poor tendon healing after surgery is a common problem. With the goal of improving outcomes, various approaches have been explored to enhance tendon repair by biological means. In this basic science study, researchers investigated a novel approach using tendon-derived, activated endothelial cells, which are cells that line the inner walls of blood vessels. Researchers implanted harvested endothelial cells into a damaged tendon to see if they would stimulate the tendon’s intrinsic stem cells.

"We set out to determine if we could stimulate intrinsic stem cells in a damaged tendon to enhance healing and repair. We know that there are stem cells in many tissues, a very small number, but they’re there. The question is, how do we stimulate them? How do we turn them on to repair injury?," explained Scott Rodeo, MD, lead investigator and co-chief emeritus of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Rodeo and colleagues found that the tendon-derived endothelial cells produced chemical factors that stimulated intrinsic stem cells in the injured tendon, and this increased the strength of the tendon repair. 

Paper #734:  Murine Supraspinatus Tendon Detachment and Repair Model Augmented with Tendon-Derived, Activated Endothelial Cells: A New Concept in Biologic Enhancement of Tendon-to-bone Healing  

Amir Lebaschi MD, Camila Carballo MSc, Christopher Camp MD, Guang-Ting Cong, Zoe Album BS, Lilly Ying, Xiang-Hua Deng MD, Scott Rodeo MD. 



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