Stem cell therapy can be used for many health challenges. Here we focus on the problems of joint pain from degenerative, wear and tear osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal injury problem related to sports or accident.
The main types of stem cell therapy are:
Bone Marrow derived stem cells. There are cells taken from your own bone marrow and injected into problem areas.
Adipose derived stem cells. There are cells taken from your own adipose or fat cells and injected into problem areas. The fat is taken typically from your abdominal area in a liposuction type procedure.
Umbilical cord stem cells and placenta derived stem cells. These are cells taken from the afterbirth umbilical cord blood and placenta material donated by the new birth mothers. These mothers donate the afterbirth materials to laboratories, after a screening process, the laboratories make these cells available available to us for use in our patients. The donation does not harm either baby or mother in anyway. These cells are tested for infectious disease and the laboratories send us those testing results when we order the product.
Umbilical cord stem cells and placenta derived stem cells are the primary stem cells that we use in treatment. We use these stem cells for many different problems, they can be given as Intravenous (IV) or as an injection. The IVs can be given for general wellness, the injections are more specialized to areas of joint pain and damage. Most commonly in cases of ligament, tendon, cartilage and joint damage.
Umbilical cord cells and placenta derived cells are the primary cells that we use in treatment.
Umbilical cord cells and placenta derived cells are a rich source of haematopoietic (blood) stem cells: Research shows these cells to be effective in repairing joint damage because they are “undifferentiated.” Undifferentiated means that they could turn themselves into material needed to repair a joint, for example bone, cartilage, or ligament and tendon cells.
The appeal of using Umbilical cord derived stem cells and placenta derived stem cells are that they are the youngest stem cells available for osteoarthritis treatment. They are considered “Day Zero Cells.” On the other hand, your own stem cells are as old as you are. The young stem cells are considered more robust, have more energy, and are in a better position to start the regenerative process.
In the next sections we will look at some of the recent research surrounding human umbilical cord stem cells for joint repair.
Research on stem cells
Research on stem cell therapy is rapidly developing. The current state of research is expressed by this April 2019 paper (1) in the World Journal of Stem Cells: “Despite many researchers’ initial worries about mesenchymal stem cell therapy, a systematic review of clinical trials has suggested that MSCs are relatively safe for both intravascular and intra-articular injection. It is noteworthy that umbilical cord MSCs can serve as allogeneic stem cell drugs, which can replace damaged tissue in the microenvironment of the implanted site, which creates a new approach for osteoarthritis treatment. Finally, although these initial studies show promising therapeutic effects, their long-term therapeutic effects need further investigation. Furthermore, more reliable studies with larger sample sizes and randomized controls are also required for higher levels of evidence, and to comprehensively standardize and optimize MSC therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis diseases.”
Research that umbilical cord stems stems work as an anti-inflammatory
In a November 2019 study, (2) researchers suggested in an animal study that a microRNA, (miR-140-5p) a molecule that can shut down inflammation and instruct cells to differentiate and multiply, was a critical positive regulator in chondrogenesis (cartilage regeneration). The researchers hypothesized that human umbilical cord derived stem cells, by stimulating microRNA, (miR-140-5p) overexpression through injection, have better a therapeutic effect on osteoarthritis.
A June 2019 study (3) examined the bone repair characteristics of stem cells. The researchers wrote: “Stem cells have the ability to renew and differentiate into various tissues such as bone as part of bone tissue engineering. Several sources of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are human amniotic MSCs within the amniotic membrane and human umbilical cord MSCs derived from the umbilical cord. The advantage of human amniotic MSCs and human umbilical cord MSCs is due to non-invasive and lack of morbidity during procurement process. In addition to ease of access, human umbilical cord MSCs is plentiful, easily reproduced and possesses high levels of immunocompatibility. Both human amniotic MSCs and human umbilical cord MSCs features a more primitive cell with the ability to differentiate into distinct, multipotent, and capable of repairing and differentiating into osteoblast. Recently, hUC-MSCs is being considered a conventional source.”
Knee damage and osteoarthritis
A December 2016 study, (4) demonstrated findings that umbilical cord stem cell injections, once a month for for two months, significantly improve the joint function and quality of life for patients with degenerative knee osteoarthritis. It takes effect after 1 month and the treatment effect can be sustained for 6 months.
Conclusion: Human umbilical cord stem cells can significantly improve the joint function and quality of life for patients with degenerative knee osteoarthritis. It takes effect after 1 month and the treatment effect can be sustained for 6 months.
Is umbilical stem cell therapy right for you?
If you would like to explore more information, please contact our office so we can start a conversation with you.
1 Wang AT, Feng Y, Jia HH, Zhao M, Yu H. Application of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: A concise review. World J Stem Cells. 2019 Apr 26;11(4):222-235. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i4.222. PMID: 31110603; PMCID: PMC6503460.
2 Geng Y, Chen J, Alahdal M, Chang C, Duan L, Zhu W, Mou L, Xiong J, Wang M, Wang D. Intra-articular injection of hUC-MSCs expressing miR-140-5p induces cartilage self-repairing in the rat osteoarthritis. Journal of bone and mineral metabolism. 2019 Nov 23:1-2.
3 Hendrijantini N, Hartono P. Phenotype Characteristics and Osteogenic Differentiation Potential of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Amnion Membrane (HAMSCs) and Umbilical Cord (HUC-MSCs). Acta Inform Med. 2019 Jun;27(2):72-77. doi: 10.5455/aim.2019.27.72-77. PMID: 31452562; PMCID: PMC6688306.
4 Wang, Y., Jin, W., Liu, H., Cui, Y., Mao, Q., Fei, Z. and Xiang, C., 2016. Curative effect of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells by intra-articular injection for degenerative knee osteoarthritis. Zhongguo xiu fu chong jian wai ke za zhi= Zhongguo xiufu chongjian waike zazhi= Chinese journal of reparative and reconstructive surgery, 30(12), pp.1472-1477.