Fat Stem Cells for Knees? Regenexx-AD 2013 Data
This past week or so I’ve been releasing data from our registry. This morning I’d like to discuss knee outcome data for the Regenexx-AD procedure. The procedure is only performed on patients with a displaced meniscus with moderate to severe arthritis, so this a very selected group of >200 patients we tracked who aren’t included in the last group of >500 SD knee patients. The procedure adds both bone marrow stem cells into the joint and fat stem cells to buttress the meniscus as explained here. First, the numbers look good in this difficult to treat population, similar but slightly less robust than the -SD data. This makes sense, as these patients have lost the ability to use the meniscus as a shock absorber and have bigger bio mechanical problems, usually due to a prior meniscus surgery. What’s also interesting is what these numbers don’t say. There are many advocates for fat stem cells. We have doctors processing fat at the bedside to enrich the stem cells, we have doctors just injecting the fat itself into joints, and we have new bedside machines that will minimally process the fat and bone marrow for re-injection. All of these techniques lay claim to the miracle of fat stem cells – there are many more of them, they are magic, they can help the crippled walk. Regrettably, this data doesn’t show a huge advantage to adding fat into the knee joint and in a head to head comparison with adding just bone marrow stem cells. Having said that, it certainly looks like this procedure likely accomplishes what it needs to for many of these patients, all of whom were either knee replacement candidates at the time of the procedure or should shortly be one.
The upshot? The 2013 Regenexx-AD data is out and it looks like the procedure is accomplishing it’s goal in a difficult to treat population. But what it doesn’t show is that adding fat stem cells to knee joints produces magical additional effects. The full PDF of this fat stem cell research infographic is here or it’s accessible by clicking the thumbnail above.