Tissue engineering offers new strategies for developing treatments for the repair and regeneration of damaged and diseased tissues. These treatments, using living cells, will exploit new developments in understanding the principles in cell biology that control and direct cell function. Arthritic diseases that affect so many people and have a major impact on the quality of life provide an important target for tissue engineering. Initial approaches are in cartilage repair; in our own programme we are elucidating the signals required by chondrocytes to promote new matrix assembly. These principles will extend to other tissues of the musculoskeletal system, including the repair of bone, ligament and tendon.
Keywords: extracellular matrix, joint disease, osteoarthritis, regenerative medicine