Knee stem cell research has traditionally focused on lab studies. Even the few formal research studies out there using stem cells to treat knee arthritis have focused on a specific protocol and a very narrow subset of patients. We have one such study ongoing at our Chicago RegenexxNetwork provider’s site. Our daily data collection is different in that only we can bring you a Regenexx research review that includes all patients treated. This is because a treatment registry can provide broad data that’s sometimes more useful than the narrow data you obtain from a controlled trial. This allows us to figure out which type of patients respond better. Above is a summary of candidacy information that we have extracted from our treatment registry courtesy of our bio statistician. A more detailed breakdown of this knee stem cell data is located here.
Starting from left to right, women who are in more pain report greater decreases in pain scores and increases in function. Basically, they are about 2-3 times as likely to report better results. Why? Some of this may be an effect of the functional questionnaire itself, in that it was designed to measure the progress of knee replacement patients. Hence, if you have a lot of pain from your arthritis to start, you will show a bigger drop on this type of validated questionnaire. We don’t see the same effect for women vs. men who are not in severe pain to start.
Next up are the three surprising facts unearthed in our registry data-age, body weight, and the severity of arthritis don’t seem to matter. Age is important, as many patients we treat are in their 60s and 70s and they don’t fare any worse than patients in their 30s and 40s. Weight is also important, as many orthopedic procedures don’t work as well in heavy patients (i.e. knee replacement and the knee micro fracture procedure). Finally, there are no clear associations between the severity of your arthritis and the outcome from the procedure. This is surprising, as almost all orthopedic surgical procedures (like knee replacement) don’t work as well on patients with more severe arthritis. This also includes many cartilage repair surgeries. If you look more closely at the linked PDF of the supporting data, you’ll see that there is no clear consistent trend here, although it’s possible that one could emerge at some point.
Finally, patients with multi-joint arthritis (3 or more painful arthritic joints) don’t do as well as patients with fewer joints involved. This makes sense, as their multi-joint arthritis, at some level, is due to a failure of stem cells to keep up with the repair and maintenance of their joints. Hence, using their own stem cells to try to help the joint may be an issue compared to a patient who may have injured one or two joints throughout their lives, but who otherwise has normal stem cell function.
The upshot? First, take all of this with a grain of salt in that this data continuously evolves as we collect more information. While we have run many statistical models to get to this point and you’re seeing some of the more reliable or interesting associations, sometimes more data will change the statistics. In the meantime, only Regenexx can bring you this kind of data analysis of what works better, for everyone else, it’s pretty much guesswork!