Stem cell injections are long-lasting treatments

Category: Blog

The challenges people face with knee osteoarthritis are many. One challenge is what type of treatments should they have short of knee replacement? For many people they have made a trip to the orthopedist and the run down of treatment options available seemingly all carry the same outlook. “Eventually you will need a knee replacement.”

In our practice, these inadequate treatments would be:

  • cortisone injections
  • hyaluronic injections
  • painkillers
  • anti-inflammatories, and
  • arthroscopic surgery.

A recent paper in the publication Clinical and translational medicine (1), stated,  “Current treatment strategies for osteoarthritis are inadequate and costly. Due to the increasing incidence and prevalence of osteoarthritis, more innovative and effective therapeutic modalities need to be investigated, including mesenchymal stem cell based therapy.”

Many of the patients we see at the Magaziner Center for Wellness are perfectly described in the above paragraph:

  • They have osteoarthritis
  • They had a lot of treatments that were inadequate
  • They have had a lot of costly treatments prescribed

At Magaziner Center For Wellness, We See a Lot of Knee Pain Patients

Stem Cell Injections are part of our treatment plan for joint injuries and chronic pain. This is because we have seen inadequate treatments play out, and because we have always sought more innovative and effective therapeutic modalities, including mesenchymal stem cell based therapy.

We have specialized, since 1999, in the non-surgical treatment of joint injuries, using techniques such as prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma therapy, and stem cell therapy to regenerate joint tissue. Dr. Scott Greenberg has performed tens of thousands of procedures. This experience allows us to take a dual approach to joint injury with the use of stem cells and PRP to treat within the joint, and the use of prolotherapy to strengthen and regenerate the supporting structure of the joint.

Below is some new research which will help answer your questions on stem cell injection for knee osteoarthritis

Research says stem cell injections to knee are long-lasting

Many patients come into our office with knowledge that their previous treatments were not long-term solutions. Frequently they will ask, “how long do the injections work?” The stem cell injections are deigned to work long-term. The factors involved in each case determine the number of treatments required to attain this goal. Let’s look at some of the research.

Doctors at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and China’s Cellular Biomedicine Group (2) found that one of the reasons stems cell therapy is effective is that after a single injection, the new stems cells remained active (healing) for 10 weeks. This study was conducted on Human adipose-derived (fat)  mesenchymal stem cells. The doctors also noted that this extended duration stay is required for stem cells to exert their functions on promoting joint regeneration and/or cartilage protection.

What is important here is that the stem cells are still healing 10 weeks later. This does not mean however that treatments should be scheduled 10 weeks apart or that a single treatment will heal years of degenerative damage. Significant joint damage requires significant treatment, and that is something we discuss with our patients.

Now that we understand that stem cells are very active in healing up to 10 weeks, what kind of long-term results does this offer?

Doctors at the Department of Orthopedics, Medical College of Shihezi University in China (3) published findings suggested in treated patients stem cell therapy offered long-term relief of symptoms. The doctors were able to conclude their long-term study by saying: “Stem Cell treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis showed continual efficacy for 24 months compared with their pre-treatment condition. “

Here again we two years effectiveness following a single treatment. The goal of stem cell therapy is avoidance of joint replacement and increase in quality of life. It is important to know that if you have treatments and you go back to a job or sport that is very physically demanding you may need to expect more treatments down the road.

Having said that:

  • In the International journal of rheumatic diseases, (4) doctors from Tehran University  found at the end of the five-year follow-up that stem cell treated knees were still better than before treatment.
  • Doctors affiliated with the University of Louisville (5) also reported good news for athletes seeking knee osteoarthritis repair without surgery, reporting that stem cell treatments not only restored damaged cartilage, but the repair also acted  to prevent future deterioration of the knee joint.
  • University research from Italy (6) says stem cells have shown promising results in relieving pain and reducing inflammation in patients with more advanced osteoarthritis, helping many halts the progression of the disease and the need for joint replacement.

Most cases of stem cell treatments we have seen are successful, yielding positive long-term results results. We have had pro-athletes, who had been sidelined, resume their high-intensity career. We have witnessed elderly patients, who were once wheelchair-bound, walk again without assistance. We have had patients with chronic hereditary and acquired diseases improve to a functional level that allowed them to again enjoy life.

  1. Burke J, Hunter M, Kolhe R, Isales C, Hamrick M, Fulzele S. Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cell based therapy for osteoarthritis. Clinical and Translational Medicine. 2016;5:27. doi:10.1186/s40169-016-0112-7.
    2 Li M, Luo X, Lv X, et al. In vivo human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell tracking after intra-articular delivery in a rat osteoarthritis model. Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2016;7:160. doi:10.1186/s13287-016-0420-2.
    3 Cui G-H, Wang YY, Li C-J, Shi C-H, Wang W-S. Efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells in treating patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: A meta-analysis. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2016;12(5):3390-3400. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3791.
    4 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.
    5  Nyland J, Mattocks A, Kibbe S, Kalloub A, Greene JW, Caborn DNM. Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, rehabilitation, and return to play: 2015 update.Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;7:21-32. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S72332.
    6 de Girolamo L, Kon E, Filardo G, et al. Regenerative approaches for the treatment of early osteoarthritis Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Jun;24(6):1826-35. doi: 10.1007/s00167-016-4125-y. Epub 2016 Apr 27.