Stem Cell Therapy and Osteoarthritis

Category: Blog

New research helps patients understand the beneficial aspects of stem cell therapy on osteoarthritis-related bone damage.

Study Published in The American Journal of Sports

A October 2017 study published in the The American Journal of Sports Medicine examined patients with two-year follow up after stem cell treatments for knee osteoarthritis.

What did this research teach us?

This study identified the safety and efficacy of an intra-articular injection of adipose derived  MSCs (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) into patients with osteoarthritic knees over 2 years.

What happened in the study?

  • Eighteen patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, 15 women, and an average age of 61 years old.
  • Patients were divided into low-, medium-, and high-dose groups receiving higher stem cell numbers.
  • There were no treatment-related adverse events during the 2-year period.
  • An intra-articular injection of adipose-derived  MSCs improved knee function, as measured by various and well-accepted knee pain scoring systems and reduced knee pain, as measured with the visual analog scale (VAS), for up to 2 years regardless of the cell dosage.
  • However, statistical significance was found mainly in the high-dose group.
  • Clinical outcomes tended to deteriorate after 1 year in the low- and medium-dose groups, whereas those in the high-dose group plateaued until 2 years. The structural outcomes evaluated with MRI also showed similar trends.
Conclusion: Higher cell numbers resulted in better outcomes at two years. The need for follow up treatment may be necessary.1

March 2017: the journal Biotechnic and Histochemistry

Subchondral bone response to injected adipose-derived stromal cells for treating osteoarthritis using an experimental rabbit model.

What did this study teach us?

Although articular cartilage is the target of osteoarthritis, its deterioration is not always clearly associated with patient symptoms. Because a functional interaction between cartilage and bone is crucial, the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis and its treatment strategy must focus also on subchondral bone.
Doctors should not limit the treatment of knee osteoarthritis to the cartilage but should examine the bone under the articular cartilage.

What happened in the study?

The doctors investigated whether adipose-derived stromal (stem) cells (ASCs) injected into a joint at two different concentrations could prevent subchondral bone damage after the onset of mild osteoarthritis in a rabbit’s with knee osteoarthritis.
Although osteoarthritis can stimulate bone remodeling either catabolically (the immune system breaks down the damaged bone to convert it to energy) or anabolically (remodeling through growth factors) over time, the accelerated turnover does not allow complete mineralization of new bone and therefore gradually reduces its density. This is part of the problem is arthritic knees, the bone that is generated is not as strong as the bone it is replacing.
This study found that ASCs promoted cartilage repair and helped counteract the accelerated bone turnover that occurs with osteoarthritis.2
For more information on how adipose-derived stem cells may help your knee pain, please contact us at
1 Jo CH, Chai JW, Jeong EC, Oh S, Shin JS, Shim H, Yoon KS. Intra-articular Injection of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A 2-Year Follow-up Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017 Oct:0363546517716641.
2 Parrilli A, Giavaresi G, Ferrari A, Salamanna F, Desando G, Grigolo B, Martini L, Fini M. Subchondral bone response to injected adipose-derived stromal cells for treating osteoarthritis using an experimental rabbit model. Biotechnic & Histochemistry. 2017 Apr 3;92(3):201-11.