Mesenchymal progenitor cells primed with pentosan polysulfate promote lumbar intervertebral disc regeneration in an ovine model of microdiscectomy.

Lead researcher

A/Prof Tony Goldschlager

Main finding

Mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs), a type of bone marrow derived adult stem cell, when culture with pentosan polysulfate, a veterinary arthritis medication, were "primed" and promoted intervertebral disc regeneration following lumbar discectomy in a large animal model.


The Ritchie Centre

Research group

Monash Neurosurgery Research Group


Dr Chris Daly
Prof Andrew Zannettino
Ms Tanya Badal
Dr Ronal Shimmon
Prof Graham Jenkin
Dr David Oehme
Dr Kanika Jain
Dr Idrees Sher
Ms Angela Vais
Assoc. Prof. Ronil Chandra

Journal and article title

Most surprising

"Priming" the stem cells prior to insertion into the intervertebral disc increased the ability of the stem cells to regenerate the intervertebral disc

Future implications

This study demonstrate a way to improve lumbar discectomy surgery, the most common spine surgery procedure performed worldwide, and may serve to reduce the number of patients who experience chronic back pain, disc reherniation or undergo further surgical intervention due to ongoing disc degeneration.

Disease/health impact

Back pain