Mesenchymal Signalling Cells
Experts are researching ways to use mesenchymal cells to treat arthritis in the knee and other joints. At the Regenerative Therapy Centre, we use bone marrow derived mesenchymal cells to treat arthritis.
Please take a look at the informative videos below to find out more
Mesenchymal Signalling Cells
WHY ARE STEM CELLS SPECIAL?
Stem cells are located throughout the body. What makes stem cells special is that they can divide and duplicate into different cell types. Stem cells are known to transform to accommodate a certain need when placed in a certain environment. For example, stem cells in the vicinity of damaged cartilage are thought to develop into cartilage tissue. There are two basic forms of stem cell – the embryonic stem cell and adult stem cell. Adult stem cells, which are also known as mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs are of great interest to researchers, scientists and surgeons alike. MSCs are free of the controversy that surrounds the embryonic stem cells and yet have the potential to form new tissues. At our Regenerative therapy center, we use the MSCs. This gives us the ability to repair and regenerate tissues such as cartilage and bone more effectively.
HOW ARE STEM CELLS USED FOR ARTHRITIS TREATMENT?
Stem cells may be applied during surgery (such as surgery to repair a torn knee meniscus) or directly into the arthritic joint through injections. Sometimes medical imaging, such as ultrasound is used to deliver cells precisely to the site of cartilage damage when administering stem cell injections.
WHERE DO THE STEM CELLS COME FROM?
The stem cells are harvested autologously – directly from the patients. Consequently, there is no risk of disease transmission, rejection or ethical controversy that can exist using cells from an unrelated donor. All humans have a supply of MSCs in various tissues and these can be harvested using specialised techniques.
The most common type of stem cells used for treating arthritis are mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are usually collected from the patient’s fat tissue, blood or bone marrow.
The process of collecting cells is often called harvesting.
Adipose (fat) stem cells are harvested using surgery or liposuction.
Peripheral blood stem cells, found in the bloodstream, are harvested by taking a blood sample from the patient.
Bone marrow stem cells are harvested from one of the patient’s bones, which is processed and the stem cells prepared are used as an injection.
Bone marrow is usually taken from the pelvic bone using a needle and syringe, a process called bone marrow aspiration. The patient is given a quick short general anaesthetic or sometimes a local anaesthetic with a sedative during the procedure.
WHO CAN HAVE STEM CELL THERAPY FOR ARTHRITIS?
WHERE CAN STEM CELLS BE USED?
Another area of particular interest for stem cell therapy in the hip and knee is to help with the regeneration of dead bone. In a condition called avascular necrosis, or AVN, there is death of a segment of the bone near the joint. This can sometimes progress onwards to become severe arthritis. Early reports of the use of stem cells to regenerate bone in AVN are encouraging.
There are many other reasons why stem cells might be used. These techniques may be relevant to different patients and are employed as required.
WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE INVOLVE?
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR STEM CELL THERAPY?
Through many trials and research around the world scientists have injected osteoarthritis patients with Bone marrow derived cells in different occasions. Their results have been thoroughly compared by peers and patients, evaluating pain scores and walking ability post treatments. Some of the trials showed that in patients with knee OA treated with intra-articular injection of autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells (BM-SCs) observed that the patients demonstrated rapid and progressive improvement of their functional indices and pain by 1 year and also showed a highly significant decrease of poor cartilage areas with improvement of cartilage quality.
Another study carried out in injections of BM-SCs in knee OA was shown to improve pain, functional status of the knee, and walking distance without any adverse events. An increase in cartilage thickness and a considerable decrease in the size of damaged subchondral bone were noticed. A trial in Germany showed a good defect filling and repair of tissue with BM-SCs in patients with knee OA and a significant clinical improvement. Another study reported that BMSCs in patients with medial femoral condyle lesions, could result into normal arthroscopic appearance.
will I need POST TREATMENT CARE
If you have a good response to the injection it does not need to be repeated often and should give you pain relief and improved function for 2-3 years, if not longer.
We recommend repeating the MRI scan on a yearly basis to assess cartilage healing but this is not mandatory.
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