Stem Cell Injection Therapy
Dr. Bill Nordt is committed to the understanding and development of the latest in stem cell science.
Cartilage damage leading to arthritis
Joint articular cartilage has very little capacity for self-regeneration. Areas of articular cartilage damage tend to get worse over time rather than better. This process often leads to the spiral of joint destruction ending in arthritis. The mature cells within the cartilage (chondrocytes) lack the capacity to produce cartilage matrix to effectively repair defects. The quest for cells that contain the ability to produce reparative matrix has led scientists to mesenchymal STEM cells (MSCs) as a potential source.
Mesenchymal STEM cells
A stem cell is a progenitor cell that can transform (or “differentiate”) into various cell types, depending on the environment in which it is placed. What makes stem cells an appealing possibility for cartilage repair is their ability to transform into chondrocytes when placed in the correct cartilage environment.
Stem cells can be found in many areas of the body (muscle, blood, adipose), though a common source is from bone marrow. Bone marrow is accessed through the rim of the pelvis known as the iliac crest. Bone marrow stems cells are the mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs. MSCs are aspirated with a needle under local anesthesia, concentrated, and then applied to the cartilage defect in the knee. It may be preferable that these cells are expanded into higher quantities in the laboratory for several weeks (increasing their generation time) before they are inserted into the joint.
Stem Cell research continues to progress. It still experimental at this time but holds promise for regenerating cartilage in the future.
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