Advances Seen in Biologic Therapies for Disk Disease

But more research is needed before molecular, gene and cell-based therapies become routine

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Biologic therapies show great potential for treating patients with degenerative disk disease, but more research is needed to establish their safety and efficacy before they can be widely used, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Daniel R. Fassett, M.D., of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, and colleagues conducted a literature review of biologic therapies for degenerative disk disease, described significant advances in understanding its pathophysiology, and summarized investigational molecular, gene and cell-based treatments.

The researchers cited encouraging results of in vitro and in vivo studies of molecular therapies such as growth factors, inflammatory inhibitors, proteinase inhibitors, and intracellular regulatory proteins; gene therapies; and cell-based therapies that involve the reimplantation of nucleus pulposus cells or the implantation of mesenchymal stem cells.

"Despite successful experimental results, these therapies face a number of hurdles before acceptance for human use, including safety concerns, efficacy in high-order animal and human studies, and issues with the role and timing of these treatments," the authors conclude.

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