PR NewswireMay 28, 2019

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MELBOURNE, Australia, May 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Professor Julien Freitag, the Principle Clinical Investigator in a world-leading research on stem-cell therapy in osteoarthritis, announced in Melbourne today the results of the world’s largest published trial on the benefits of stem-cell therapy for osteoarthritis, the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.

The world-first published research by Melbourne Stem Cell Centre under the auspices of the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee, shows that stem cell therapy improves the quality of life of those affected by more than to 290%.

Professor Freitag said the study, the first of its type, conclusively proves the clinical and real-world benefits of stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis and shows that stem cells can stop the progression of osteoarthritis and regrow cartilage.

Professor Freitag said the year-long study titled ‘Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial’ and published in the international journal Regenerative Medicine, confirms the emergence of a new era in cell therapy.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the US, according to the Arthritis Association. By conservative estimates, about 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, of which 31 million have the most common type, osteoarthritis.  Arthritis and other non-traumatic joint disorders are among the five most costly conditions among adults aged eighteen and over in the US.

Until now, the only treatment options available to most patients were pain-relief drugs, prescribed exercise, knee surgery and joint replacement.

The trial found:

  • Statistical and clinically significant pain and function improvement following stem cell therapy in 85 per cent of patients (observed as early as one month following treatment)

  • Trial subjects experienced a dramatic decrease in pain and a big increase in functional activity with stem cell treatment, resulting in their quality of life scores improving almost three-fold (290%)

  • Average pain improvement of 69% at 12 months follow-up

  • Significantly greater pain improvement compared to current conventional therapies, including use of anti-inflammatories, a prescribed exercise program and knee arthroscopy

  • Progression of arthritis halted in the majority (89%) of participants who underwent multiple stem cell injections.

  • Evidence of cartilage regrowth.

  • Stem cell therapy was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events.

Associate Professor Dr Julien Freitag, Head of Clinical Research at Melbourne Stem Cell Centre, said:

“This is the largest published trial of its type on the benefits of stem-cell therapy and osteoarthritis.  It validates stem cell therapy as a real treatment option.”

This trial confirms that cell therapies will change the way in which we practice medicine.

Research-based stem cell treatment should not, however, replace effective lifestyle-focused, conservative treatment.

It is important for patients to follow their doctor’s advice, which may be to continue with traditional methods such as exercise and weight management, which are important additional factors in achieving a healthy and active lifestyle. “

“Stem cell therapy may be one piece of the puzzle in the management of arthritis but it does not replace the proactive measures which can be achieved by patients themselves.”

Professor Freitag said an active lifestyle brings all round health benefits.