Stem cell therapy has been hailed by some as a miracle cure for a wide range of health conditions in recent years, from age-defying treatments to tissue damage repair. One of the most successful treatments that stem therapy can provide is for osteoarthritis in the knees.
A person suffering from osteoarthritis can experience deterioration in the cartilage covering the ends of bones and wearing away. This cartilage covering is essential to protect our bones by preventing them from rubbing directly against each other. If the cartilage wears out too much, the bone-on-bone contact can cause pain, inflammation, and stiffness, gradually leading to loss of function and mobility.
Millions of people suffer from osteoarthritis in the knee. Many of them manage their symptoms by adapting their lifestyle, weight loss, exercise, and medical treatments. Osteoarthritis can get severe and result in the need for a complete knee replacement.
Stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis can completely replace the need for knee replacement surgery by treating the root problem: degeneration of cartilage and connective tissue that a joint.

Why Are Stem Cells Special?

Stem cells are specialized cells located throughout the body. These cells can divide and duplicate themselves. Additionally, it can develop into different types of cells. A stem cell itself does not serve the body, but it can develop into cells that do help. It means that stem cell therapy can help to repair the damaged cartilage by replicating and duplicating as a replacement for the lost and damaged tissue.

Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis

Stem cells can be applied through surgery or delivered through injections directly into the arthritic joint. Administering stem cells can heal osteoarthritis in several ways.
Stem cells also have the ability to modulate the immune system and prevent it from going into a pro-inflammatory attack mode. Instead, stem cells can encourage an anti-inflammatory response in the affected area.
Stem cells also secrete growth factors that can repair the damage by regenerating new joint tissue to replace the worn-out cartilage. Stem cells restore the remaining joint tissue and build up the supporting tissues like blood vessels, nerves, bone, ligaments, and tendons in the affected area. They have been shown to promote cells in the knee joint to multiply and contribute chondrogenesis (new cartilage growth) by renewing extracellular matrix’s and building type II collagen. A study regarding bone marrow MSC treatment in patients with osteoarthritis to reduce pain and other symptoms of the condition was published in 2019 [https://pubmed.​ncbi.​nlm.​nih.​gov/30964245/], and it showed promising results. The study found that stem cells are not just safe but also inhibited the cells that make up cartilage from dying.The study observed 12 patients in the trial aged 40-65. The subjects had osteoarthritis in the knee who were given stem cell treatment using cells derived from their bone marrow. The patients were split into four groups, with each group receiving a different number of cells. The subjects were monitored for two years after injection and showed impressive results. Researchers found that the cartilage cells did not deteriorate, proving that stem cells have a protective effect on joint cartilage cells. Additionally, scientists found decreased pro-inflammatory markers in the knee, suggesting better modulation of the immune system and mitigated autoimmune attack. The reduced inflammation also meant that the sensation of pain among the subjects was significantly lower than before receiving the injection.  In a study published in Jan. 2020 in the European Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, 29 participants diagnosed with OA of the knee were treated with human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSC) and hyaluronic acid (HA). Participants had significantly decreased pains measured by three different OA assessments, even those diagnosed with severe knee osteoarthritis (KOA). The greatest effect was seen as far as 6 months after the initial injection showing that improvements continue long after the stem cells are transplanted. Similar studies have shown an increase in cartilage growth after MSC transplantation through MRI imaging.

Where Do The Stem Cells Come From?

The most common type of stem cells that medical professionals have used over the years for treating arthritis are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Typically, medical professionals extract the MSCs from the patient’s fat tissue, blood, or bone marrow. Harvesting the bone marrow from the pelvic bone has been the most common method to extract the necessary MSCs for stem therapy. The patients who received MSCs in the study described above were given stem cells extracted from the marrow in their pelvic bones.
At Innate Healthcare, we do not use bone marrow MSCs. Several studies suggest that cells derived from your own body may not be as effective in providing the healing effects necessary to treat osteoarthritis. The number of stem cells that can be extracted and their ability to function properly tends to decrease as we age. Plus, it requires a minor surgical procedure of drilling bone marrow out of your pelvis. Ouch!
Stem cells from umbilical cords (UC-MSCs) have a significantly higher amount of stem cells that are young, and function far better than older cells derived from bone marrow or fat tissue. Furthermore UC-MSCs have a track record of being safe and aren’t rejected by the recipient’s body. So, there’s no need for dangerous immunosuppressive drugs. Our experience of using UC-MSCs over the years to treat osteoarthritis and several other conditions has provided our patients with very promising results.
The particular work that we have done over the years with patients suffering from osteoarthritis has shown exceptional results. We have observed a decrease or even complete elimination of pain. The stem therapy for osteoarthritis has also provided an improvement in joint function and significantly reduced recovery time.

Do You or Someone You Know Need Stem Cell Therapy?

Osteoarthritis in the knee can be very detrimental to your health. It can cause a lot of discomfort for the person suffering from it and deteriorate their quality of life by rendering them immobile. The inflammation and pain can worsen over time, resulting in chronic pain problems that can persist until they can get the right treatment.
Stem cell therapy can be an effective way to treat osteoarthritis and help to improve the quality of life for someone suffering from it. Before stem therapy was developed, patients suffering from osteoarthritis would inevitably need to get a knee replacement surgery done to resolve the problem. Using stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis can completely eliminate the need for knee replacement or any other invasive procedures by helping your body heal itself.
If you or a loved one is living with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis, we can help. Interested in exploring your treatment options using the best expertise in stem cell therapy? Contact us by clicking here or calling us at 602.​603.3118 to set up a consultation and exam with us. We will provide you with the best recommendation for treatment based on your unique requirements.


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Coutts, Margaret, et al. “Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Treatment for a Patient with Psoriatic Arthritis.” World Journal of Stem Cells, vol. 9, no. 12, 2017, pp. 235–240., doi:10.4252/wjsc.v9.i12.235.

Dilogo, Ismail Hadisoebroto, et al. “Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee: a Single-Arm, Open-Label Study.” European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, vol. 30, no. 5, 2020, pp. 799–807., doi:10.1007/s00590-020-02630-5.

Kim, Y.S., et al. “Assessment of Clinical and MRI Outcomes after Mesenchymal Stem Cell Implantation in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: a Prospective Study.” Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, vol. 24, no. 2, 2016, pp. 237–245., doi:10.1016/j.joca.2015.08.009.

Li, Jiao, et al. “Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles for Treating Joint Injury and Osteoarthritis.” Nanomaterials, vol. 9, no. 2, 2019, p. 261., doi:10.3390/nano9020261.

Liang, Hanguang, et al. Progress in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis with Umbilical Cord Stem Cells, vol. 33, no. 3, 23 May 2020, pp. 470–475., doi:10.1007/s13577-020-00377-z.

Matas, Jose, et al. “Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs) for Knee Osteoarthritis: Repeated MSC Dosing Is Superior to a Single MSC Dose and to Hyaluronic Acid in a Controlled Randomized Phase I/II Trial.” STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, vol. 8, no. 3, 2018, pp. 215–224., doi:10.1002/sctm.18-0053.

Miyaki, Shigeru, and Martin K. Lotz. “Extracellular Vesicles in Cartilage Homeostasis and Osteoarthritis.” Current Opinion in Rheumatology, vol. 30, no. 1, 2018, pp. 129–135., doi:10.1097/bor.0000000000000454.

Wang, Hao, et al. “The Human Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Improve the Viability of OA Degenerated Chondrocytes.” Molecular Medicine Reports, 2018, doi:10.3892/mmr.2018.8413.

Yubo, Ma, et al. “Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation for Osteoarthritis Treatment: A Meta-Analysis.” PLOS ONE, vol. 12, no. 4, 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175449.

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