Damage to articular cartilage is a common condition affecting the joints of millions of people. This is a major problem considering the poor regenerative capacity of adult articular cartilage and the disability and pain that accompanies these injuries [13]. There exists a range of options that have been applied in clinical practice, with variable degrees of success, for repair of focal lesions and damage of the articular surface, including tissue adhesives [1,6,11,12,18], enzymatic treatments [8] and laser solder welding [21], autograft cell/tissue transfer via osteoperiosteal grafts [17], osteochondral grafts (mosaicplasty) [10] and Carticel [4,5]. The poor healing capacity of articular cartilage [13], potential for donor site pain and morbidity in autograft procedures, risk of disease transmission in allograft procedures, and the limited longevity of arthroplasty systems (i.e., ∼15 years for a total knee arthroplasty), has generated considerable research efforts to develop cell-based therapies for articular cartilage repair and replacement.

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