Cheryl (CE) is a 65 year old woman treated in 2008 with culture expanded mesenchymal stem cells in a knee stem cell injection who was seen back in the clinic this week. It’s always a “blast from the past” for me to see these long-term follow-ups. Cheryl had 5 years of complete relief and her knee pain has been slowly returning over the past two years, so she’s back for a top up!
Cheryl was 59 when she was first seen in April of 2008. Back then had failed meniscus, microfracture, and ACL reconstruction surgery due to a tennis injury. Her knee was bad enough at that point that she was considered a knee replacement candidate by her local orthopedic surgeon with knee pain at a 3-6/10. She had her bone marrow stem cells harvested, grown in culture, and re-implanted in 2008. How did she do? She reported this week that for 5 years she was pain free and fully active walking 18 holes of golf and skiing heavily. Then about two years ago the pain began to return and she cut back to skiing every other day, but she still walks 18 holes of golf. She also noted today that her golfing friends (husband and wife) have both had bilateral knees replaced and one of them can no longer walk the course. Both have pain and “hobble around”. She therefore wasn’t surprised today when I shared with her recent research that showed that the most common 1-10 pain number given by patients after a knee replacement wasn’t a 0-1/10, but an astounding 5/10! We ultimately decided that she would get a repeat knee stem cell procedure or “top up” as she described it.
The upshot? It’s great to see that the Regenexx-C cultured stem cell procedure has this kind of durable effect for a patient with severe knee arthritis. In addition, Cheryl isn’t atypical of the stem cell patients that we’ve been following for a decade. While many clinics just getting into this work are trying to figure out how long their specific treatment protocol will last, there are few clinics on earth who can say that a stem cell treated patient is returning for their 7 year top up!
The Regenexx-C procedure is not approved by the US FDA and is only offered in countries via license where culture expanded autologous cells are permitted via local regulations.