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. 

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics and No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2016-2017), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at


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