In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints.
Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly 9 million people.
It most often develops in adults who are in their mid-40s or older.
It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition.
The usual job of joint cartilage is to promote smooth movement of joint surfaces and protect bones from friction. This process allows for shock absorption of up to 20 times the weight of the body. It’s essential to physical movement, especially in athletics.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common chronic degenerative disorders and it very often affects the knee, causing deterioration of its joint cartilage over time.
Osteoarthritis can also begin as a result of a knee injury, such as a ligament tear, tendon damage, or a fracture.
In the face of damage, the joint becomes unstable and this wears down the articular cartilage. From there, the bone can suffer damage as well, in addition to the synovial joint lining, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
How Can Stem Cells Be Used to Treat Osteoarthritis and Knee Injury?
Stem cell therapy for knees is minimally invasive. It’s a procedure that can decrease inflammation, slow and repair all these forms of damage from arthritis, and delay or prevent knee replacement surgery.
Adult stem cells can be collected from umbilical cord blood and tissue at birth and extracted from bone marrow or fat through simple methods. It’s then concentrated and injected into the knee with image guidance, usually to successful results.
In one study, patients experienced improvement in both knees even though only one knee was injected. Although the natural deterioration of the knee continues, at five years, those knees that are injected with stem cells are in better shape than they were before the injections.
Researchers believe that stem cell therapy for the knee works by:
- developing into essential cartilage cells
- thwarting the inflammation that can worsen arthritis
- releasing proteins called cytokines that slow degeneration of cartilage and reduce pain
Research Study Results
Dr Robert G. Schwartz, who is an internationally-renowned practitioner of Neuromusculoskeletal, Vascular and Regenerative Medicine, writes that both autologous and placental-derived stem cells can produce outstanding results, as evidenced by the fact that 74% of his patients reported more than 80% of lasting relief.
Placental stems cells, which are found in the placenta and collected after the blood from the umbilical cord is drawn, seem to keep working longer relative to autologous stem cells.
“We are impressed and inspired by the outcomes we are seeing for stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis in knees, as well as in hips, ankles, back, shoulders and spine,” commented Dr. Schwartz, who has been practicing medicine for 31 years, and who also serves as the Medical Director of Physical Medicine at Bons Secours Hospital in Greenville, SC.
“It is not uncommon for patients to report that their walking endurance has increased more than 700%, and that the so-called `bad’ joint or limb that had been troubling them for years or decades actually feels stronger than the `good’ one!”