Stem Cell Therapy Trial Points To Drug- And Surgery-Free Arthritis Treatment
Doctors at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Florida are conducting a clinical trial that could lead to the first approved stem cell treatment for knee arthritis.
We put our joints through a heck of a lot of undue stress and strain.
Like the ball bearings in a wheel, joints work away in the background, grinding and degrading while they support everything from standing upright and sitting down, to heavy manual labour and running ultramarathons.
With little or no effective treatment options other than invasive surgery, our parents and grandparents and the generations before them have largely had to put up with the pain, weakness, and limited mobility that comes with ageing and prolonged use of our joints. It’s considered just another part of life.
Cartilage – the material that makes up our joints – is known for its inability to heal. In fact, doctors and scientists have long believed that due to a limited blood supply and lack of metabolism, it’s pretty much impossible for cartilage to regenerate naturally.
But as modern medicine has revealed, cartilage is actually able to heal itself — just really, really slowly. This mechanism has since been shown to be helped along by mechanical forces on joint tissue through the likes of physical exercise. But more recently — and more excitingly — cartilage regeneration has proven to be ramped up through the use of stem cell therapy.
Several institutes are currently pursuing orthopaedic (muscle and bone) trials on stem cell treatments, with many producing promising results. What’s more, private companies such as Regenexx are demonstrating the effectiveness of stem cell therapy by treating many patients — often high profile sportspeople — with joint issues and sports injuries.
As we’ve only recently understood the role of stem cells in joint repair, current orthopaedic stem cell treatments are unproven and unregulated. However, there is hope on the horizon for fully approved stem cell treatments, with the first quite possibly being for knee arthritis.
Using Stem Cells To Boost The Knee’s Natural Repair Process
“We believe that if you inject stem cells into a joint after a surgery, that’s how we get that knee joint to heal cartilage.” —Dr. Adam Anz
Dr. Anz of the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Florida is collaborating with Khay Yong Saw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to conduct a multi-centre randomised controlled stem cell therapy trial on patients with knee arthritis.
The process begins with patients receiving an injection under the skin that causes stem cells in the bone marrow to be released into the bloodstream.
The bone marrow stem cells are then collected from the blood through apheresis — a common and long-established procedure in medicine.
Doctors precisely inject the collected stem cells into the injured tissue in the knee and monitor the effects through advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging which is sensitive enough to capture even the slightest before-and-after differences.
“I’ve been involved in looking at all the data and there is regeneration of the cartilage and the cartilage looks good on the MRI,” —Dr. Anz
The trial at the Andrews Institute is based on strong evidence of how healing works naturally in the knee, as well as the plethora of studies which indicate the power of stem cells in subtly accelerating this process. And wits no adverse effects of treatment, there is a strong case being made for stem cell therapy as a more effective and safer alternative to surgery.
Visit our website today to find out how you can safeguard your children’s future health by storing stem cells from their milk teeth.