In patients with osteoarthritis of joints, the injection of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into the affected joint is becoming increasingly recognized as a safe and effective treatment. Stem cell therapies are becoming more widespread due to their effectiveness, as well as the lack of side effects or complications seen with properly done stem cell treatments. Stem cell therapy has been shown to improve not only the symptoms of arthritis, but it also can improve and grow cartilage. Loss of cartilage within the joint is a characteristic of osteoarthritis. A newly published study in this field was done at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the National University College of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea . Their study showed showed that stem cell treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee provides positive effects that were relatively long lasting, measured at the 2 year mark in this study .
Eighteen patients with Osteoarthritis of the knee were enrolled in the study, with an average age of 61.8 years, with all participants being between 52 and 72 years old.
To assess the effects of the stem cell treatment, the researchers used the well recognized WOMAC scale, which evaluates the following; 1- pain 2- stiffness and 3- difficulty performing daily activities. They also used the KOOS score (Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome). Physical changes were assessed using an MRI study to measure the size and depth of the cartilage defect, and cartilage volume, which is reduced in knee osteoarthritis. Improvements were seen both in the symptoms-pain , stiffness, and physical activity limitations, as well as in healing and improvement in the cartilage defects associated with the condition. This study also documented that there were no treatment related side effects reported by any of the patients in the study. The conclusion of their study supports the use of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis of the joints.
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