New Study On Stem Cells and Knee Arthritis

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There has recently been published a new study on stem cells and knee arthritis.  We’ve published quite a bit on the use of mesenchymal stem cells for various forms of arthritis. We just had a hand arthritis paper accepted for publication last week and also have published a large comparison trial in knee arthritis. We will be digging into our new CRO quality database this summer and publishing more research. One of the hallmarks of a therapy that works is when others try the same thing and also publish positive results. This small study is from a group in Spain and it too shows efficacy for the use of stem cells and knee arthritis. Their report of improvement is similar to what we published in a larger study and they also reported improvement in cartilage signal on T2 MRI mapping in 11/12 patients (which we’ve also shown and featured on this site). Below is the abstract from PubMed:

Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis with Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Pilot Study

Orozco, Lluis; Munar, Anna; Soler, Robert; Alberca, Mercedes; Soler, Francesc; Huguet, Marina; Sentís, Joan; Sánchez, Ana; García-Sancho, Javier

Transplantation . POST AUTHOR CORRECTIONS, 15 May 2013

doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e318291a2da

Abstract

Background: Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent joint disease and a frequent cause of joint pain, functional loss, and disability. Osteoarthritis often becomes chronic, and conventional treatments have demonstrated only modest clinical benefits without lesion reversal. Cell-based therapies have shown encouraging results in both animal studies and a few human case reports. We designed a pilot study to assess the feasibility and safety of osteoarthritis treatment with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in humans and to obtain early efficacy information for this treatment.

Methods: Twelve patients with chronic knee pain unresponsive to conservative treatments and radiologic evidence of osteoarthritis were treated with autologous expanded bone marrow MSCs by intra-articular injection (40×106 cells). Clinical outcomes were followed for 1 year and included evaluations of pain, disability, and quality of life. Articular cartilage quality was assessed by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging T2 mapping.

Results: Feasibility and safety were confirmed, and strong indications of clinical efficacy were identified. Patients exhibited rapid and progressive improvement of algofunctional indices that approached 65% to 78% by 1 year. This outcome compares favorably with the results of conventional treatments. Additionally, quantification of cartilage quality by T2 relaxation measurements demonstrated a highly significant decrease of poor cartilage areas (on average, 27%), with improvement of cartilage quality in 11 of the 12 patients.

Conclusions: MSC therapy may be a valid alternative treatment for chronic knee osteoarthritis. The intervention is simple, does not require hospitalization or surgery, provides pain relief, and significantly improves cartilage quality.

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