Hydrogels as Carriers for Stem Cell Transplantation

April 19, 2014

Melissa Alvarado-Velez, S. Balakrishna Pai, and Ravi V. Bellamkonda
Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University, Volume 61, Issue 5, Page:1474-1481

melissa-bannerStem cell transplantation is a promising therapy for several degenerative conditions. However, a number of limitations such as low cell survival, uncontrolled and/or low differentiation, induction of host immune response, and the risk of teratoma formation make this approach challenging. In this review, we explore the utility of hydrogels as carriers for stem cell delivery and their potential to overcome some of the current limitations in stem cell therapy. We focus on in situ gelling hydrogels, and also discuss other strategies to modulate the immune response to promote controlled stem cell differentiation. Immunomodulatory hydrogels and gels designed to promote cell survival and integration into the host site will likely have a significant impact on enhancing the efficacy of stem cell transplantation as a therapy for debilitating degenerative diseases.

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