A new biologic era of orthopaedic surgery has been initiated by basic scientific advances that have resulted in the development of gene therapy and tissue engineering approaches for treating musculoskeletal disorders. The terminology, fundamental concepts, and current research in this burgeoning field must be understood by practicing orthopaedic surgeons. Different gene therapy approaches, multiple gene vectors, a multitude of cytokines, a growing list of potential scaffolds, and putative stem cells are being studied. Gene therapy and tissue engineering applications for bone healing, articular disorders, intervertebral disk pathology, and skeletal muscle injuries are being explored. Innovative methodologies that ensure patient safety can potentially lead to many new treatment strategies for musculoskeletal conditions.

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