Tissue Engineering for Bone Production- Stem Cells, Gene Therapy and Scaffolds

E.G Khaled1, M Saleh1, S Hindocha*, 2, 3, M Griffin 3, Wasim S Khan4
1 Department of Plastic Surgery, Ain Shams University, Plastic Surgery department, Ramsis Street, Abbassia Square, Cairo, Postcode 11566, Egypt
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, Whiston Hospital, Warrington Road, Liverpool, L35 5DR, UK
3 University of Manchester. Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, 131 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 7DN, UK
4 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK

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© Khaled et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Plastic Surgery, Whiston Hospital, Warrington Road, Liverpool, L35 5DR, UK; Tel: 01244366265; Fax: 01244366277; E-mail:


A bone graft has been the gold standard treatment for repairing bone defects. However, due to bone grafts associated donor site morbidity several alternative bone substitutes options have been made available but with their added expense and limited osteoinductive properties they are not ideal. Therefore, research has begun in tissue engineering to investigate stem cells, which are one of the body’s own mechanisms used to repair bone. Stem cells are clonogenic undifferentiated cells capable of self-renewal. Readily available from numerous of sources stem cells have the potential to differentiate in osteoblasts and chrondrocytes showing capability to repair both bone and cartilage. The known immunologic properties of stem cells further enhance their therapeutic appeal. Stem cells have shown to be excellent carriers for gene transfer having the capability to be transduced. Gene transfer could enable growth factors and bone morphogentic proteins to enhance bone repair. Stem cells are implanted onto scaffolds, which are structures capable of supporting tissue formation by allowing cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. Research aims to produce scaffolds that deliver and retain cells, allow for cell attachment has adequate biodegradability, biocompatibility and non-immunogenicity. However, having tried and testing numerous materials including synthetic and natural products research into the perfect scaffold product continues. This review aims to explain how stem cells were discovered, the techniques used to isolate stem cells, identify and manipulate them down different cell lineages and discuss the research into using stem cells to reconstruct bone using genetic modification and scaffolds.

Keywords: Adult stem cells, bone marrow, bone reconstruction, gene therapy, scaffolds, tissue engineering.