Stem Cell Therapy and Knee Osteoarthritis

Category: Blog

Stem Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Recently, there has been a wave of remarkable studies from some of the world’s leading research institutions showing the effectiveness of using stem cell injections for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

In the laboratory and more importantly in clinical observation, doctors are showing that it is possible through the regeneration of damaged bone, cartilage, and the soft tissue of ligaments and tendons to non-surgically biologically repair even severely damaged knees. Stem cell therapy has presented itself as a clear and viable option to knee replacement.

Stem Cell Injections are part of our treatment plan for joint injuries and chronic pain. 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. We have 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.

Stem cell therapy can offer long-lasting repair of osteoarthritic knees

Doctors at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and China’s Cellular Biomedicine Group found that one of the reasons stems cell therapy is effective is that after a single injection, the new stems cells remained viable and active within the knee for 10 weeks. The doctors also noted that this extended duration stay is required in order for stem cells to exert their functions on promoting joint regeneration and/or cartilage protection.1

Doctors at the Department of Orthopedics, Medical College of Shihezi University in China 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 pretreatment condition. “2

Stem cell therapy for aging patients and athletes

Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh citing stem cells as becoming the mainstay of nonoperative therapy in the high-demand athletic population. They reported on studies assessing the utility of stem cells that have shown encouraging results in the setting of osteoarthritis. So much so that they concluded: “As the volume and quality of evidence continue to grow, biologic agents (stem cells) are poised to become an integral component of comprehensive patient care throughout all orthopedic specialties.”3

Doctors affiliated with the University of Louisville 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.4

Doctors at the University of Iowa found that “stimulating tissue regeneration by autologous stem/progenitor cells has emerged as a promising new strategy (in the treatment of osteoarthritic meniscal damage).”5

Ongoing research into stem cell therapy

Clearly, doctors do not research treatment options that have been shown to be ineffective. This new research is a continuation of previous findings that include:

Recent research in the medical journal Arthroscopy, documented improvement with Stem Cell Injections in patients with knee osteoarthritis. They noted a significant reduction in pain, significant improvement in function, and MRI documented cartilage growth. 6

Treatment at the Magaziner Center
The area of injury or arthritis is treated with both stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). If stem cells are the seeds in the lawn, PRP is the fertilizer that helps the lawn grow. PRP, a combination of growth factors and platelets naturally found in the body, provides cell signals and nourishment to help the stem cells flourish and develop into new joints, ligaments, tendons, and other body parts. PRP not only triggers stem cell development, but can also help stem cells regenerate on their own inside the body, and can also attract circulating stem cells to the area of injury. We have used PRP alone in the treatment of many injuries and pain problems.

Most cases of stem cell and PRP treatments are successful and avoid the pain, disability, downtime, and risk associated with major surgery. There is minimal recovery from a stem cell or PRP treatment, usually mediated by soreness in the area that was treated, and there is also a risk of bruising. There have been no reports of serious adverse effects in the scientific literature when adult mesenchymal stem cells are used in these procedures.

Afterward, the patient is encouraged to use the joint normally, and follow up treatments of PRP are given in monthly intervals to continue to allow the stem cells to do their work. Since stem cell treatment is very safe, it can be repeated in the joint if necessary to obtain optimal results. Also, having treatment with stem cells would not make a person ineligible for surgery.

1 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.

2 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.

3 Kopka M, Bradley JP. The Use of Biologic Agents in Athletes with Knee Injuries. J Knee Surg. 2016 May 20.

4 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.

5 Seol D et al. Characteristics of meniscus progenitor cells migrated from injured meniscus. J Orthop Res. 2016 Nov 3. doi: 10.1002/jor.23472.

6 Koh YG, Jo SB, Kwon OR, Suh DS, Lee SW, Park SH, Choi YJ. Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injections Improve Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy. 2013 Jan 29. pii: S0749-8063(12)01884-1.