Stem cells can become potent tools for the treatment of degenerative disorders such as heart failure, eye disease and osteoarthritis. Housing stem cells inside a hydrogel coating, directly deposited around them individually and in groups, may be an important solution to the problem of increasing stem cell viability and protection in cultivation. Such coatings can target regulatory proteins and genes for maintenance, differentiation and development into tissues. Already polymer coatings are being applied directly to protect insulin producing pancreatic islet cells in the hope of treating type I diabetes. Here, we review current emerging developments in adult mesenchymal stem cell nanocoating and microcoating techniques and assess their unique practical engineering, biological and potential clinical advantages.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(12)70021-4