Breakthrough Technology Helps Melbourne Karate Champion

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Stem cells have been used to regrow the missing sections of a karate champion’s knee in a breakthrough Melbourne case that raises hopes for the wider use of the technique. Stephanie Harris, 30, plans to resume training later this year after stem cells were injected into a knee, resulting in cartilage growth filling a 1cm hole that could not be repaired by surgery or traditional medical treatments.

The extraordinary regrowth of Ms Harris’s knee cartilage came as a world-first stem cell trial continues at Melbourne Stem Cell Centre.

The trial has resulted in about 70 per cent of patients being able to stabilise conditions, such as osteo­arthritis, reduce pain and improve function. The 2016 experimental treatment has given Ms Harris back her career as a personal trainer, a pain-free life, and the hope others may be able to benefit in the future.

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“Probably about six months after (the procedure), I started to notice I could have free movement,” Ms Harris said.

“It just felt better and then a year later I had a lot better movement and could actually stand up and sit down like a normal person, without having to shift to one side.

“It hasn’t deteriorated or anything and the cartilage is just going to keep maturing.

“I have seen enough improvement in myself to know that by the end of the year, I will be able to train again.” Stephanie Harris is thankful for the chance to fight again. 

Melbourne Stem Cell Centre lead researcher Assoc Prof Dr Julien Freitag said Ms Harris was a unique case as a young national-level athlete with a traumatic knee injury that could be disabling for the rest of her life. “For her to have regrown an entire area of cartilage lost, for her pain and function to have improved significantly to the point where she can now work and pursue her sport and leisure pursuits as she would like, is just a fantastic outcome,” Dr Freitag said.

Ms Harris’s recovery was last week published in the BMJ Case Reportsjournal. MRI scans show complete cartilage ­regeneration. Researchers concluded the case provided an indication mesenchymal stem-cell therapy might offer a treat­ment for similar conditions.

The Melbourne clinic is also undertaking two separate trials involving 70 patients receiving stem-cell treatment to overcome joint conditions but, while seven out of 10 patients had a measurable benefit, Assoc Prof Freitag said the results were more modest at this stage.

After having a promising karate career taken away when she landed awkwardly at the 2014 National Karate Championships, Ms Harris is thankful for the chance to fight again.

“I just wanted to finish my career on my terms because I felt when I had that injury, it was taken from me ­prematurely,” she said.

Article Written & Provided By The Herald Sun

British Medical Journal Case Report Features Melbourne Stem Cell Centre Patient

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The British Medical Journal has published a case report on a Melbourne karate champion who damaged the cartilage in her knee and found she was unable to stand up or sit down "like a normal person". The full British Medical Journal report on her progress can be read here. 

Regenerative Medicine Now And In The Future – Part Two


Written by Mr Michael Kenihan. 


I recently attended the American College of Sports medicine meeting in Denver Colorado.

Eminent scientist, Thomas Best also spoke about the emerging research in stem cell therapy.

He spoke in detail about where the world of stem cell research is at in the current literature and the role that stem cells will play in regenerative medicine. To summarise he detailed stem cells the good, the bad and the ugly:

The good: there is strong evidence that stem cell treatment is entirely safe to use and growing evidence that stem cells have a disease modifying effect on osteoarthritis.


The bad: there is only poor quality studies in the literature.

MSCC and Magellan Stem Cells  are hoping to add to that body of evidence when we commence our Allogeneic trial in the near future.  That is in addition to the more recent trial we have conducted and the preliminary results that detail the efficacy of stem cells in reducing pain and improving function along with, in some cases, regeneration of what appears to be type one cartilage.
The ugly: the advent of unscrupulous operators who are promoting “stem cell tourism” are causing headaches for regulators and in some instances severe adverse consequences for the un-suspecting and desperate public.

I want to advise you that MSCC and Magellan Stem Cells are working at the forefront of the emerging stem cell industry and will continue to support everything we do with evidence based treatments.  In 2016 Melbourne Stem Cell Centre became concerned around the need for stem cell treatments to be based on good science. If you would like to read more about this please click here

For more information about this treatment please contact the clinic at To stay up to date on all of our current research please subscribe to our joint pain or back pain database.


Does Stem Cell Therapy Really Work for Knee Osteoarthritis?

To discover more about our research and findings about stem-cell therapy, with regard to knee osteoarthritis, please feel free to contact us on (03) 9270 8000 or