Stem Cell Treatments for Joint Cartilage

How Adult Stem Cells May Revolutionize Osteoarthritis Treatment

Lifescript—March 8, 2013

Researchers are testing cutting-edge therapies that use adult stem cells to regenerate joint cartilage and repair arthritis damage. Eventually, these treatments may reduce pain and help patients postpone joint replacements. Here’s how...

Imagine a future where doctors take stem cells from your own body, grow them into cartilage in a lab and reinsert them into a joint eroded by osteoarthritis.

Or a day when physicians help your body heal itself by luring stem cells to a worn joint, where they transform into joint cartilage.

Today, such osteoarthritis treatments are only a glimmer in the eyes of researchers, who are just beginning to learn how to harness stem cells to generate joint cartilage and control inflammation in laboratories.

But for the 27 million Americans with osteoarthritis, adult stem cell research could promise amazing new treatments. Experts hope one day – perhaps in your lifetime, if you’re 50 years old – to apply these therapies and alleviate or prevent arthritis in people, as well as postpone or reduce the need for joint replacement surgery.

That day is still years away. “We’re [nowhere near] being able to put orthopedic surgeons out of work on joint replacements,” says Mary Goldring, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

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