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Can Arthritis Be Treated with Stem Cells?

Stem cells are being widely studied as a form of regenerative medicine, as they bear the unique ability to proliferate and differentiate into nearly any cell type within the body. Because of these characteristics, they’re considered to hold therapeutic potential for repairing or replacing compromised tissue. They also have the remarkable capability of releasing signaling molecules to trigger healing.

One condition which is being heavily researched as a potential application for stem cell therapy is arthritis. More than 54 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, which is characterized by the wear and tear of cartilage at the end of the joints. With their distinct capabilities, stem cells could help to facilitate new cartilage growth, repair damaged tissue, relieve pain, and restore joint function.

In particular, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are derived from either adipose (fat) or umbilical cord (Wharton’s Jelly) tissues, can target injured or inflamed areas of the body, delivering regenerative factors such as:

  • Vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Fibroblast growth factor
  • Platelet-derived growth factor

These regenerative factors support the regeneration of tissue, including cartilage. They can also minimize inflammation and reduce the autoimmune response, which is particularly helpful for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Specifically, they offset the actions of inflammatory molecules and enhance proteins with anti-inflammatory properties.

Currently, research into the far-reaching benefits of stem cell therapy for arthritis is ongoing. As additional studies are completed, arthritic patients can discover and research more on this emerging science as a potential option for their symptom management.

This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.