Controversies in regenerative medicine: Should intervertebral disc degeneration be treated with mesenchymal stem cells?
Loibl M., Wuertz-Kozak K., Vadala G., Lang S., Fairbank J., Urban JP.
Low back pain (LBP) can significantly reduce the quality of life of patients, and has a considerable economic and social impact worldwide. It is commonly associated with disc degeneration, even though many people with degenerate discs are asymptomatic. Degenerate disc disease (DDD), is thus a common term for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration associated with LBP. Degeneration is thought to lead to LBP because of nerve ingrowth into the degenerate disc, inflammation, or because degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) alters spinal biomechanics inappropriately. Thus, while the objectives of some interventions for LBP are to control pain intensity, other interventions aim to deal with the consequences of disc degeneration through stabilizing the disc surgically, by inserting artificial discs or by repairing the disc biologically and preventing progressive IVD degeneration. Despite tremendous research efforts, treatment of LBP through the use of regenerative interventions aiming to repair the IVD is still controversial. The use of mesenchymal stem cells for IVD regeneration in a patient-based case will be discussed by an ensemble of clinicians and researchers.