How Can Stem Cells Help With Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis and Its Impact

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that can cause pain, stiffness, crepitus (popping, grinding), swelling, limitations in movement, due to decreased cartilage and bone remodeling. OA is classified as primary or secondary. Primary OA is related to the aging process and secondary OA is related to existing disease or environmental factors. Repairing of joint tissues is a slow process due to the limited blood supply in this area. OA affects ~10% of the American population and is the 4th leading cause of hospitalizations resulting in total knee and hip replacement surgeries. Our aging population continues to increase and it is estimated by 2050 that OA will affect ~130 million Americans. This projection highlights the tremendous need to focus on this disease for the American population.

 
Mid section of man suffering with knee pain
 

How can Stem Cell therapy help?

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have the ability to survive and regenerate joint tissue when injected into the affected joint. For a joint to be repaired there needs to be a decrease in inflammation and an increase in the cells that stimulate repair of the affected joint. Stem cell therapy has the ability to regenerate and remodel the joint space due to the ability to differentiate into joint tissue and promote growth and repair. Advance healing at an accelerated rate can be achieved with adequate stem cell therapy. This therapy along with physical therapy and lifestyle changes has shown to decrease symptoms of pain, stiffness, and limited mobility related to OA.


Current pharmacological interventions for symptomatic relief:

Tylenol

NSAIDs

Topical pain relievers

Steroids

Opioids

Hyaluronic Acid

What can exacerbate osteoarthritis?

Overweight

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugars were seen in Diabetes)

Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)

Muscle weakness