Degenerative joint diseases like Osteoarthritis are difficult to effectively treat, as total joint arthroplasties are often associated with poor outcomes. Following these surgeries, many patients need additional interventions. As such, clinicians and researchers have begun to turn to new therapeutic options for degenerative joint diseases. Stem cells offer one promising route for these types of therapies, and clinical data have shown that patients with knee osteoarthritis have experienced less pain after stem cell transplants. A recent article, published in Arthroscopy Techniques, lays out a way to use stem cell transplantation to help patients with degenerative joint disease of the knee.
Mesenchymal stem cells are good candidates for helping with degenerative disease because of their ability to differentiate into chondrocytes, the cells that make up joints. In many cases, therapies are formed based on the use of mesenchymal stem cells that come from either fat tissue (called adipose tissue) or bone marrow tissue. In the current article, the authors lay out the process for using adipose-derived stem cells for degenerative joint disease of the knee. The authors focus on this type of stem cell because adipose tissue has been shown to be richer in mesenchymal stem cells and are less likely to lead to certain types of complications. For instance, they have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory response that helps to modify immune activity.
In this technique, the stem cells themselves are extracted from adipose tissue using liposuction, which is minimally invasive. The authors also detail how to position the patient for the stem cell extraction procedure in order to achieve optimal results. They explain exactly how to extract the cells and then how to process them. Finally, they detail how to go about injecting the stem cells into the patient with neurodegenerative joint disease of the knee and what is needed for the patient postoperatively.
The use of adipose-derived stem cell transplants for degenerative joint disease is still relatively new. However, that researchers are putting focused efforts and resources into developing detailed best practices for these types of interventions suggests that these types of therapies will be used more in the future and that the procedures will improve over time as we collect more relevant data.
Learn about our stem cell therapy for Osteoarthritis here.