Approximately 20 to 40 million Americans suffer Osteoarthritis which is also one of the most popular forms of arthritis. This complication involves an early-stage deterioration of articular cartilage. Cartilage is simply a connective tissue without nerves or blood vessels.
One of the symptoms is the pain that results from inflammation caused by the production of destructive enzymes and can also be influenced by biomechanics.
In the previous year’s treatment of osteoarthritis used to be symptomatic that involved injections of glucocorticoids in the joints, oral ingestion of inflammatory drugs or injection of visco-supplements that acted as intra-articular lubricants. Unfortunately, these methods were not as safe as they were claimed to be. They were linked to several potential side effects and the worst; they weren’t as effective as they were assumed to be.
In the year 1990’s scientists developed an interest of creating osteoarthritis drugs. Unfortunately, their efforts weren’t successful.
Stem cells for regrowing cartilage have become a center of interest. However, there are a few issues that need to be addressed. Many people still question which kind of stem cells are to be used and those that shouldn’t. There are also a few questions about how stem cells would work for regrowing cartilage, potential risks, how their productivity can be enhanced and more.
Recently, there was a breakthrough in the area of human pluripotent stem cells. It was originally established in the year 2007 by Shinya Yamanaka; Yamanaka was able to obtain adult stem cells. He then reprogramed them to work as cord blood stem cells. The results were stem cells that could differentiate to form any cells in the human body. However, the procedure has been accompanied by several issues.
Currently, a scientist can obtain mesenchymal stem cells that are found in the bone marrow. These stem cells work just like any other stem cell if placed in a correct environment together with growth activators.
Mesenchymal stem cells can perform a variety of functions, but can be limited to several organs. The good news is, it works for cartilage. However, it isn’t easy judging whether the procedure is as effective as it is assumed simply because their findings aren’t clear. It has also been realized that using MSCs in areas that have no cartilage may result in some complications.
It is, however, evident that the effectiveness of this procedure is short term and safe considering several factors such as improvements of cartilage. There are also no reported risks of cancer which has been one of the issues revolving around the use of pluripotential stem cells.
Currently, we can say that MSCs is the best approach that is obtained from the bone marrow plus many growth factors derived from plasma that is rich in platelet. For a successful harvesting to take place, use of ultrasound guidance by a professional is highly advised.