Stem Cell Therapy for Cartilage Repair

Article summary:
Researchers suggest that Stem Cell Therapy has the potential to regenerate lost cartilage, stop and reverse cartilage degeneration, provide pain relief, and improve patient mobility.

In a new study, doctors  at Georgia Regents University suggest: “(stem cell) cellular therapies have the potential to regenerate the lost cartilage, combat cartilage degeneration, provide pain relief, and improve patient mobility. One of the most promising sources of cellular regenerative medicine is from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs can be isolated from adipose tissue, bone marrow, synovial tissue, and other sources.”1

The excitement surrounding research on stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis centers on the possibility of stem cell therapy reducing the need for joint replacement as  primary care for diseased joint. 2

In recent research doctors note that since joint cartilage possesses only a weak capacity for repair, its regeneration potential is considered one of the most important challenges facing doctors. Techniques such as drilling of bone (marrow stimulation techniques), Osteochondral transplantation and autologous chondrocyte implantation results have shown limited results.

In the search for alternatives, scientists have found mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may be the answer.

  • New research suggests that not only can stem cell treatments restore damaged cartilage, but can also act as a protector against future deterioration of the knee joint.3

Recently, doctors in Iran followed 17 patients who had stem cell therapy for either knee, hip, or ankle osteoarthritis. It is important to note that the patients only received one stem cell injection.

  • After 30 months follow up all patients exhibited therapeutic benefits such as increased walking distance and decreased pain.4

What makes stem cells so promising and effective as in the study above is that they:

  • Can morph into cartilage cells
  • Have a homing mechanism that brings them to the site of damage
  • Since they come from the patient themselves, they are not rejected. 5

In other research, doctors sought to understand the concept of stem cell therapy’s potential in regenerating cartilage, specifically articular cartilage  the tough tissue that covers the ends of bones. 

The typical method of repairing this injury is surgery. However articular cartilage lesions represent one of the major unsolved problems in the orthopaedic surgery.6

Stem cell injection therapy for cartilage repair

Stem cells have been compared favorably to more traditional treatments such as surgery because they repair damage. Stem cells have also been compared favorably to chondrocyte therapy (injection of cartilage cells). The reason, stem cells can change the joint environment from degenerative to healing.

  • “(Stem Cells) can modulate the immune response of individuals and positively influence the microenvironment of the stem cells already present in the diseased tissue. Through direct cell-cell interaction or the secretion of various factors, MSCs can initiate endogenous (grow from within) regenerative activities in the osteoarthritic joint.” 7

This is confirmed in another paper which says: Mesenchymal stem cells are very special healing tools in that they have the ability to self-renew and differentiate between the types of cells “to treat age-related disorders that involve more than one tissue, such as degenerative joint diseases and arthritis.” 8

Stem Cell Therapy can be a viable alternative to joint replacement – are you a candidate?

Contact Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Magaziner via or

  • Call US 856-424-8222

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. Emadedin M. et al. Long-Term Follow-up of Intra-articular Injection of Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Patients with Knee, Ankle, or Hip Osteoarthritis. Arch Iran Med. 2015 Jun;18(6):336-44. doi: 015186/AIM.003.

3. Yang X, Zhu TY, Wen LC, Cao YP1, Liu C, Cui YP, Meng ZC, Liu H. Intraarticular Injection of Allogenic Mesenchymal Stem Cells has a Protective Role for the Osteoarthritis. Chin Med J (Engl). 2015 20th Sep;128(18):2516-2523. doi: 10.4103/0366-6999.164981.

4. Maclaine SE, McNamara LE, Bennett AJ, Dalby MJ, Meek RM. Developments in stem cells: implications for future joint replacements. Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2013 Mar;227(3):275-83.

5. Mohamadreza Baghaban Eslaminejad and Elham Malakooty Poor. Mesenchymal stem cells as a potent cell source for articular cartilage regeneration. World J Stem Cells. Jul 26, 2014; 6(3): 344–354.

6. Peretti GM, Pozzi A, Ballis R, Deponti D, Pellacci F. Current surgical options for articular cartilage repair.Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2011;108:213-9.

7. Qi Y, Feng G, Yan W. Mesenchymal stem cell-based treatment for cartilage defects in osteoarthritis. Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):5683-9. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

8. Roberts, Genever, McCaskie & De Bari; Prospects of stem cell therapy in osteoarthritis. Regen. Med. (2011) 6(3), 351–366).