Cells and Materials


Over the past decade, the field of molecular biology has given rise to the development of the applied discipline of molecular medicine. Based on recent developments using recombinant gene technology, genetic mapping analysis and other investigational tools, the physician and surgeon is now ready to begin using those instruments in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease. This article reviews the history of scientific exploration in recombinant gene technology as it applies to bone and cartilage repair. Clinical cases are presented to show how the fruits of scientific knowledge may be brought to bear on some of the more challenging musculoskeletal problems. Although some of these examples may prove to be accurate representations of how molecular engineering will be used in specific clinical settings, the purpose of this review is to provide an orientation and philosophical approach to the applications of recombinant gene technology in traumatic and reconstructive surgery of the skeleton.