Stem cell therapy treats osteoarthritis

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STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM) published results today from a study. They used stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Besides, medical practitioners usually recommend joint replacement as a treatment. Researchers in Canada used mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC’s) from the patient’s own bone marrow in a clinical trial.

In fact, Sowmya Viswanathan, Ph.D., and Jaskarndip Chahal, M.D. directed a clinical team from the Arthritis Program at the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto. “Our goal was to test for safety as well as to gain a better understanding of MSC dosing, mechanisms of action and donor selection,” Dr. Viswanathan said.

Indeed, the study included 12 patients, aged 45 to 65, with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. They were arranged into three groups, with each group receiving a different dose of (MSC’s). Consequently, medical practitioners injected each patient with his or her own cells. The scientists did follow up with the patients for 12 months, using various methods: biomarkers, imaging, molecular fingerprinting, as well as the patient’s self assessment.

Thus, after 12 months, the team observed pronounced improvements in the patients’ levels of pain and quality of life. Moreover, the study confirmed that the (MSC’s) were safe at all the doses applied and that the higher the dose, the more effective the result for the patient.

“Furthermore,” added Dr. Chahal, “we have been able to show that through an anti-inflammatory mechanism of action, such patients have an improvement in pain, function and quality of life. This sets the stage for the future of cell-based therapy and trials in Canada.”

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