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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. 


About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic of musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.


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