A new paper is out that I would like to share and review. It’s on stem cell therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The paper represents research from a team of Australian doctors on the benefits and safety of stem cell therapy.
Here are their opinions and findings:
- “Regenerative cellular therapies (stem cells), rather than being unique and experimental, are well established and practiced in the area of blood transfusion, bone marrow and tissue transplantation…It has been over 40 years since mesenchymal stem cells were first characterized by Dr Alexander Friedenstein. They were initially recognized in bone marrow and display plasticity and multipotency (the ability to change/morph into other cell types, multiply, and signal other cells to being repairing damaged joints).
- Mesenchymal stem cell MSCs (connective tissue stem cells) suppress inflammatory T–cell proliferation and provide and anti-inflammatory effect.
- Mesenchymal stem cells express various growth factors – an array of bioactive molecules that stimulate local tissue repair – These growth factors, and the direct cell to cell contact between MSCs and chondrocytes (the present remaining cartilage cells in the joint), have been observed to influence chondrogenic differentiation and cartilage matrix formation – in simple terms – stem cells regenerated cartilage.
- “Intra-articular injections of MSCs have resulted in pain and functional improvement in a number of preclinical and clinical trials. Importantly, recent limited case series evidence has shown regrowth of cartilage volume and disease modification following MSC injections. Whilst recognizing the low level of scientific evidence (Level IV), a significant increase in cartilage volume in an accepted degenerative and progressive condition represents an exciting development.”
- The investigation of MSCs in the treatment of various conditions including osteoarthritis continues to grow. The National Institutes of Health lists 404 current trials in the area of MSCs. “1
The abundance of research is making it clear stem cells for knee osteoarthritis provides a promising treatment strategy for osteoarthritis. Supporting the research above is another new paper explaining how stem cells work on knee repair. The answer? Bone marrow stem cells increases cell proliferation of chondrocytes and inhibits inflammatory activity in osteoarthritis. In common language – it regrew cartilage and stop damaging chronic inflammation. 2 The same results expressed above.
These healing effects of stem cells are supported in many more studies. In one study, doctors followed patients for five years after stem cell injections for knee osteoarthritis. They found at FIVE YEAR follow up stem cell treated knees were still better than before treatment.3
More interesting is a second study from doctors in China who announced that in their animal studies, stem cells injected into the site of a bone fracture, promoted rapid and accelerated bone healing. 4
Here is what new research concluded: “Regenerative medicine (PRP and stem cells) may ultimately have profound implications in the way knee osteoarthritis is managed”5
The implications of the above research has helped revolutionize the way standardized medicine addresses problems of bone degeneration and necrosis (bone death).
So much so that researchers are looking at the osteoblasts, specialized mesenchyme-derived (stem) cells accountable for bone synthesis, remodelling and healing. What they are finding is that these cells rebuild bones through various mechanisms including cell homing or cell signalling. This is where stem cells communicate with the surrounding tissue to help them navigate to the site of the wound and differentiate themselves into the material to build bone.6 Other research suggests positive results even in cases of Avascular necrosis.7
Stem cells can also modulate the immune response of individuals and positively influence the microenvironment of the stem cells already present in the diseased tissue.8 The stem cells changed the environment.
The research above shows, cartilage can be regrown, bone can be regrown, chronic inflammation (swelling) shut off, healing turned on – this is why doctors are saying - stem cells can provide a curative effect.
Should you consider Stem Cell Therapy for your bone-on-bone?
1. Freitag J, Bates D, Boyd R, Shah K, Barnard A, Huguenin L, Tenen A. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis: reparative pathways, safety and efficacy – a review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016 May 26;17(1):230. doi: 10.1186/s12891-016-1085-9. Review.
2. Zhang Q, Chen Y, Wang Q, Fang C, Sun Y, Yuan T, Wang Y, Bao R, Zhao N. Effect of bone marrow-derived stem cells on chondrocytes from patients with osteoarthritis. Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1795-800. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4720. Epub 2015 Dec 28.
3. Davatchi F, Sadeghi Abdollahi B, Mohyeddin M, Nikbin B. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis: 5 years follow-up of three patients. Int J Rheum Dis. 2015 May 20. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12670. [Epub ahead of print]
4. Huang S, Xu L, Zhang Y, Sun Y, Li G. Systemic and local administration of allogeneic bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells promotes fracture healing in rats. Cell Transplant. 2015 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Richards MM, Maxwell JS, Weng L, Angelos MG, Golzarian J. Intra-articular treatment of knee osteoarthritis: from anti-inflammatories to products of regenerative medicine. Phys Sportsmed. 2016 May;44(2):101-8. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2016.1168272. Epub 2016 Apr 4.
6. Titorencu I, Pruna V, Jinga VV, Simionescu M. Osteoblast ontogeny and implications for bone pathology: an overview. Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Jan;355(1):23-33. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1750-3. Epub 2013 Nov 29.
7. Calori GM, Mazza E, Colombo M, Mazzola S, Mineo GV, Giannoudis PV. Treatment of AVN using the induction chamber technique and a biological-based approach: Indications and clinical results. Injury. 2013 Sep 19. pii: S0020-1383(13)00423-3. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2013.09.014. [Epub ahead of print
8. Qi Y, Yan W. Mesenchymal stem cell sheet encapsulated cartilage debris provides great potential for cartilage defects repair in osteoarthritis. Med Hypotheses. 2012 Sep;79(3):420-1. Epub 2012 Jun 1.