Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints and a common form of arthritis. In a normal joint, cartilage covers each end of the bone providing a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion. The cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in this movement. In osteoarthritis the cartilage wears away causing the bone to rub against bone, triggering pain, swelling and problems when moving the joint. Osteoarthritis tends to worsen over time.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem Cells are located throughout the adult body in places such as fat tissue, blood or bone marrow. Stem cells are the basic building block of all human tissue. Think of a stem cell as a built-in repair kit regenerating cells damaged by disease, injury and everyday wear, and tear.
A stem cell itself does not serve the body in any way, the ability of the stem cell to develop into a specialized cell such as cartilage cell or bone cell makes this cell extraordinary. Stem cells are used by the body to replace diseased cells with new healthy cells.
How Do Stem Cells Help Arthritis?
Treatment consists of stem cells being harvested from the patient and then being applied during surgery or delivered to the joint through an injection. The stem cells will stimulate new cells to be formed. The injection of the stem cells has been shown to result in pain relief and improvement in function or quality of life. More research is being done daily on the use of stem cells to help alleviate arthritic symptoms.