Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a very painful condition of the joints which often limits mobility. Usually seen in older individuals but not entirely uncommon in younger patients, osteoarthritis can lead to malformed joints, an inability to perform or enjoy everyday tasks and even disability.
The precise cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, although several genetic, environmental, mechanical and metabolic and developmental causative factors have been identified. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage surrounding our joints begins to break down. This cartilage is responsible for smooth, painless joint movement. When it breaks down and degrades, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain and making certain movements impossible. Stiffness, tendon degeneration and muscle atrophy are commonly seen alongside osteoarthritis.
In the past, scientists have run into roadblocks when trying to treat osteoarthritis with replacement cartilage. The body only has a certain amount of cartilage, and transplanting it can lead to problems down the road. One method of “growing” cartilage had some success, but scientists had difficulty in creating enough new cartilage for a successful treatment.
Thanks to new discoveries, creating new cartilage for osteoarthritis patients is now possible. Located within the articular cartilage of adults are cells which, unlike stem cells, can’t turn into any cell within the human body. They do, however, have the potential to become new cartilage cells. This is a huge advancement, because it means that a patient’s own cells – known as autologous stem cells – can be used to create new cartilage. These cells have been found in patients well into their seventies, which is wonderful news for elderly osteoarthritis patients.
How It Works
Any stem cell therapy involves taking stem cells, providing them with the right conditions to turn into the desired type of cell, then transplanting or injecting those new cells into the proper area of the patient’s body.
In the stem cell treatment of osteoarthritis, cells are harvested from the articular cartilage of an arthritis patient. The use of the autologous cells ensures that the body will not reject the cells are foreign invaders, as is often the case in other types of stem cell therapy.
Once harvested, the cells are carefully prompted, in a lab setting, to become cartilage cells. It is not yet clear whether scientists will be attempting to create enough cartilage to directly implant, or whether they will be injecting the cells themselves and allowing them to build new cartilage once in the body. Either way, the patient should experience a significant drop in pain, mobility limitations and disability once the new cartilage is in place and working as intended.
How Soon Will it Become Available?
Currently, the American Stem Cell & Anti Aging Center is referring patients for Arthritis. If you
have any questions please fill out the form to the right with your contact information and one of the staff will contact you within hours.