Stem-cell therapy may be a new treatment option for knee osteoarthritis, a major cause of disability for Australians. This condition is progressive and most suffer from it because of obesity as wear and tear due to aging or post a traumatic event to a joint while doing activity Causing pain, stiffness and decreased function, osteoarthritis in the knees is very debilitating. Whilst physiotherapy and medicine offer temporary relief, it unfortunately does not help restore the cartilage in the knee.
Stem-cells are essentially specialized cells that have the potential to develop into specific cells like cartilage, skin or bone cells etc Stem-cells may be capable of revitalising worn cartilage in the knee joint. Stem-cells can be sourced from bone marrow, umbilical cords, or from fat deposits in the body where there is a rich supply of stem cells. This type of therapy may prove to be effective and less painful than more invasive treatments like joint replacement and different drug therapies
- less invasive than surgical procedures,
- a more viable alternative to a costly knee replacement,
- the ability to assist the patient to regrow cartilage naturally and
- less time spent in rehabilitation.
Research trials are presently being conducted to assess the efficacy of this therapy. The results are very encouraging and patients are experiencing positive results.
However, the process of research trials can take time and, like with any medical procedure, there are risk that the treatment will not completely resolve the underlying problem. The good news is that this field of research is developing and positive trials continue to take place. In the near future, stem-cell therapy may be the choice of patients who wish to have a less painful, costly and lengthy procedure.