Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary field whereby cell and tissue growth is manipulated in an attempt to solve problems associated with the aging population. For example, the lack of organ donors and the difficulties with finding a matching donor, the time from explanting autologous cells to implanting a functional tissue and inherited and acquired disorders. These include diabetes, blindness, amputations and vascular disease. One of these problems is the regrowth of cartilage meniscus in the knee. Cartilage is body tissue that grows extremely slowly. Therefore, when it is damaged, it takes a long time for the cartilage to regrow, with the possibility of further complications arising.
One method for solving this problem is to grow this cartilage meniscus through the use of tissue engineering techniques, for example by the use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells are human bone marrow stromal stem cells or “pluripotent progenitor cells” with the ability to generate cartilage, bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and fat . One way to guide the differentiation of MSCs to the lineage of cartilage meniscus cells (fibrochondrocytes) is through the use of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs).