Scaffold-based Delivery of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics for Enhanced Bone and Cartilage Repair.

Recent advances in tissue engineering have made progress towards the development of biomaterials capable of the delivery of growth factors, such as BMPs, in order to promote enhanced tissue repair. However, controlling the release of these growth factors on demand and within the desired localised area is a significant challenge and the associated high costs and side effects of uncontrolled delivery have proven increasingly problematic in clinical orthopaedics. Gene therapy may be a valuable tool to avoid the limitations of local delivery of growth factors. Following a series of setbacks in the 1990's, the field of gene therapy is now seeing improvements in safety and efficacy resulting in substantial clinical progress and a resurgence in confidence. Biomaterial scaffold-mediated gene therapy provides a template for cell infiltration and tissue formation while promoting transfection of cells to engineer therapeutic proteins in a sustained but ultimately transient fashion. Additionally, scaffold-mediated delivery of RNA-based therapeutics can silence specific genes associated with orthopaedic pathological states. This review will provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art in the field of gene-activated scaffolds and their use within orthopaedic tissue engineering applications. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.