New Research Shows Promise For Stem Cell Treatment For Arthritis

Arthritis In The Hand

Recent medical research indicates that stem cell treatment for arthritis may be viable. Researchers from the Florida Mayo Clinic conducted a placebo-controlled, blind clinical study on the effectiveness of using stem cells from bone marrow as a treatment for arthritic pain in the knees. This is the first complete study of its kind and was necessary because more than 100,000 U.S. patients are being treated with stem cell therapy at 600 clinics even though the treatment has not been clinically studied. This treatment can run into thousands of dollars, most of it not covered by insurance.

Results from the study, reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that patients who received the stem cell therapy showed dramatic improvement, not only in the knee receiving stem cells but also in the other knee which only received a saline injection as a control. There were 25 patients in the study who all had two bad knees. These patients did not know which knee got the stem cells.

Perhaps even more impressive is that each of the 25 patients reported a 1 out of ten average pain score for both knees six months following treatment.

The study researchers say these findings are difficult to interpret since both knees improved. They did state, however, that the procedure is safe as a treatment for knee pain, but would not go as far as recommending stem cell therapy as part of routine arthritis care.

The researchers are hypothesizing that the stem cells were able to identify areas of injury and go where they are needed. This hypothesis needs further testing, but the therapy shows promise as a treatment for more than just arthritis pain.

Researchers are also studying how an individual’s own stem cells can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This is a painful and crippling disease. New advances in medical technology allow researchers and scientists to create a master cell from a patient’s own body. These are known as induced pluripotent stem cells. These adult cells can then be made into three different types of cells: muscle, neurons, and skin. There is less risk in using these cells since they are the patient’s own cells.

Research into how to use stem cells to treat rheumatoid arthritis is focused on how to get these adult stem cells to fight certain diseases or to target certain areas including joint destruction.

This research is also discovering new ways to strategically remove defective or misguided immune cells and rebuild the body’s immune system with new cells.

While stem cell therapy is not approved by the FDA in the United States, patients are still paying the treatment as they search for a relief from their debilitating pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Stem cell therapy is also showing promise as a treatment for other autoimmune diseases. Doctors and researchers are excited about the possibilities offered by stem cell therapy and urge more clinical studies as quickly as possible.

While doctors are excited about the promise of this treatment, they are still hesitant to recommend it without further clinical study. Still, the possibility of stem cell treatment for arthritis and other autoimmune diseases is exciting. For more information go to to how it can relieve the pain.