Gene Therapy in Sports Medicine

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SummaryIn sports injuries, the most commonly injured tissues, including cartilage, tendons, and certain ligaments, are limited in their ability to heal. A number of growth factors show promise as agents that may improve healing, but their potential clinical use is limited by delivery problems. Gene transfer technologies offer new ways to deliver growth factors and other useful products locally, in a sustained fashion, to tissues that have a restricted healing capacity. Gene transfer circumvents problems that result from the relatively short half-lives of the gene products and can be accomplished by in vivo and ex vivo procedures using a variety of different vector systems. Promising preliminary data have been published indicating the feasibility of transferring genes to bone, cartilage, ligament, and tendon. These data permit cautious optimism that gene therapy will be clinically used in the treatment of certain sporting injuries.

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