Combined Gene and Stem Cell Therapy for Cutaneous Wound Healing
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In current medical practice, wound therapy remains a clinical challenge and much effort has been focused on the development of novel therapeutic approaches for wound treatment. Gene therapy, initially developed for treatment of congenital defects, represents a promising option for enhancing wound repair. In order to accelerate wound closure, genes encoding for growth factors or cytokines have shown the most potential. The majority of gene delivery systems are based on viral transfection, naked DNA application, high pressure injection, and liposomal vectors. Besides advances stemming from breakthroughs in recombinant growth factors and bioengineered skin, there has been a significant increase in the understanding of stem cell biology in the field of cutaneous wound healing. A variety of sources, such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue and skin/hair follicles, have been utilized to isolate stem cells and to modulate the healing response of acute and chronic wounds. Recent data have demonstrated the feasibility of autologous adult stem cell therapy in cutaneous repair and regeneration. Very recently, stem cell based skin engineering in conjunction with gene recombination, in which the stem cells act as both the seed cells and the vehicle for gene delivery to the wound site, represents the most attractive field for generating a regenerative strategy for wound therapy. The aim of this article is to discuss the use and the potential of these novel technologies in order to improve wound healing capacities.
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