With the ageing of the population and the major advances in targeted drug treatments, there is in medicine a shift in attention from survival towards quality of life. Therefore new challenges are emerging in modern health care. Preventive and personalized medicine have been identified as key steps in this context. New targeted biologicals for musculoskeletal diseases such as chronic arthritis have entered daily clinical practice, thereby not only controlling symptoms and signs, inflammation and destruction, but also maintaining function of the joints. The last aspect is essential for the independence of the individual and critical for the quality of life. Since the lifespan of prosthetic devices will always remain limited, new treatment approaches to repair skeletal structures need to be devised for the young and middle aged individuals with skeletal and joint damage caused by either congenital, traumatic, or inflammatory conditions. It is believed that regenerative medicine and more specifically tissue engineering may fill this void to some extent. Indeed, recent cellular therapeutics and combination products, now resorting under a new regulatory class of Advanced Medicinal Therapeutic Products, provide indications that progress is being made with clinically relevant outcomes in well-defined patient populations. For osteoarthritis, a joint disease leading to joint decompensation, novel tissue engineering therapies are being explored and, although most of the developments are still in early phase clinical studies, there are sufficient positive signals to pursue these novel therapeutic approaches in clinics. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Osteoarthritis".