Stem cells treat knee osteoarthrosis

Osteoarthrosis is one of the most common diseases in the world. Osteoarthrosis is understood as joint damage, in which a progressive damage to the articular cartilage occurs. Osteoarthrosis affects various joints, but quite often – the knee. Osteoatrosis of the knee is called gonarthrosis. This disease is one of the major medical causes of the decline in the quality of life for women and men over the age of 40 worldwide. Gonarthrosis is accompanied by a pronounced pain syndrome, limits the patient’s motor activity and often becomes a cause of disability. The development of osteoarthrosis is promoted by obesity, genetic predisposition, menopause in women.

In the treatment of gonarthrosis with different efficacy anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs are used a well as chondroprotectors, physiotherapy, surgery and even prosthetics of the knee joints. However, none of these treatments repair the damaged joint, but only reduce the pain and sometimes slow the progression of the disease. The only therapeutic approach to the restoration of destroyed articular cartilage is the use of mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are most often obtained from umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord, bone marrow, adipose tissue.

The international journal “Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy” in 2019 published the results of treatment of knee joints cartilage defects using autologous mesenchymal stem cells of adipose tissue at the orthopedic centers in Greece and Belgium. Such innovative cell therapy was performed in 25 patients, the average age of the patient was 30.5 years, the body mass index was 23.6 kg/m2, and the average size of cartilage defect was 3.5 cm2. Patients were observed 3 years after cell therapy before any conclusions were drawn. A comprehensive examination of patients was performed at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months after cartilage defect filling with stem cells during surgery.

As a result of treatment, all patients have a marked clinical improvement, confirmed by functional and radiographic methods of investigations. Magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the complete filling of the cartilage defect in 65% of patients. In those cases where a postoperative biopsy was performed, histological examination confirmed the presence of tissue similar to hyaline cartilage in the defect area.

Thus, scientists have concluded the suitability of stem cells for the restoration of the affected cartilage of the knee joints and the effectiveness of cell therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis.


In Ukraine, the Institute of Cell Therapy has also developed techniques for the use of stem cells in the treatment of osteoarthrosis, including gonarthrosis, which are now being tested in clinical trials under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The processing, cultivation and cryopreservation of stem cells for clinical trials is carried out on the basis of the first and only ISO-accredited cryobank of Ukraine at the Institute of Cell Therapy.


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