Stem Cell Therapy For Osteoarthritis: What You Need To Know

Stem cells are being considered for treating various medical conditions, arthritis being one of them.

Current osteoarthritis treatments only focus on symptom control and pain management. Even though these have shown progressive results, they rarely stop progression or repair damages resulting from osteoarthritis.

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What are stem cells?

Stem cells are underdeveloped precursor cells that can convert into various sub-types of mature cells through division. Osteoarthritis treatments use the mesenchymal stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, which are available in the bone marrow, blood, fat, joints, and other tissues.

Can stem cells be used for treating arthritis?

Stem cell treatments have the potential to repair damaged joints in various ways like providing cells that can transform into cartilage, modulating the immune response, stimulating cell regeneration in a patient.

How can stem cells treat osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis treatment with stem cells used adult mesenchymal stem cells. These are collected from the patient’s bone marrow, fat, these cells are usually extracted from a mixed population of cells.

Once the mixed cell populations have been collected from a patient, they can be isolated, prepared, and concentrated, and directly injected into the patient or processed in a laboratory and grown to identify a specific cell population before injecting the patient.

Once the MSCs have been injected into the body, they can convert into bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, tendon, and ligaments depending on the surrounding tissues.

These stem cells possess some anti-inflammatory properties which can stimulate other cells to enhance tissue repair. When a patient’s joint is injected with these cells, it can reduce swelling, pain and even improve movement.

Are stem cell treatments safe for osteoarthritis patients?

Stem cells treatments are considered safe for patients depending on the cell preparation before being injected into the body and the environment where the procedure takes place. Nevertheless, research from other forms of cell treatment has shown that using a patient’s cells for stem cell treatment is safe. Autologous MSCs taken from a patient’s own fat or bone marrow are primarily used for injection-based therapies, and these are considered safer. These are the predominant cells used for treating osteoarthritis.

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