Thursday, July 15, 2010

Revolutionary treatment for osteoarthritis using adult stem cells

A revolutionary therapy for osteoarthritis based on the use adult stem cells is to be tested on patients for the first time. See Irish Independent report.
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is caused by wear-and-tear to the surface of joints, leading to stiffness and pain. In severe cases, the joints have to be replaced with artificial implants.

Once again we see that progress in the development of new treatments comes with the research and development of adult stem cells not embryonic ones.

The trial, which will take place in Britain, will have a one-year duration and could be the first step towards new treatments that will avoid the need for joint replacement surgery and pain-relieving drugs.

The therapy involves mixing adult stem cells extracted from the patients own bone marrow, with young cartilage cells known as chondrocytes and then injecting them into the joints to patch them up.

Up to 70 people with knee osteoarthritis will take part in the study funded by the charity Arthritis Research UK and which will take place at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Shropshire, before the end of this year.

The trial is experimental but if it is successful it will revolutionise the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis by replacing it with a new combination therapy, which could be widely available in less than five years.