Here at Macquarie Stem Cells, Dr. Bright aims to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis such as pain, stiffness and loss of strength in the joints. After your treatment, our goal is to keep in contact with you so we can guide you to achieve the best results and get you moving comfortably again. Patient care and knowledge is what is expected of us and it is exactly what you would expect to gain from our expertise.
Stem cell therapy aims to treat the actual damaged tissue which is causing discomfort. Though stem cell therapy is a new treatment for osteoarthritis in general, it has been around for over 20 years and has been used in medicine since 2009. (Caplan et al, 2011)
Can Stem Cells Help Osteoarthritis?
Stromal cells have the potential to carry out repairs, as indicated below:
- Target and fight off inflammation (reduce the pain you have)
- Increase the productivity of synovial fluid (increase lubrication of your joints)
- Differentiate into specific tissue types and repair the damaged layer of cartilage as well as connective tissue such as tendons, muscles and ligaments
- Resolve nerve related pain such as burning, tingling and numbness
(Wu et al., 2013) (Gibbs et al., 2015) (Jo et al., 2014) , (Michalek, 2015)
Can Stem Cells Regenerate Cartilage?
If you have cartilage in your joints, the short answer is yes. These cells can regenerate cartilage. There are a number of studies that have shown promising results with cartilage tissue regeneration.
Below you will find some examples of MRI coronal images of the knee. The black area underneath the top knee bone indicates cartilage depth. By week 16 a sizeable increase in the regenerated tissue is observed.
MRI sagittal images of the knee. The black area underneath the top knee bone indicates cartilage depth. By week 16 a sizeable increase in the regenerated tissue is observed.
What if I am Bone on Bone?
Before we jump into cartilage regeneration, we first need you to understand what actually happens in your joints when you become bone on bone. In short, your joint lubrication will have suffered, the joint will be inflamed, supporting structures such as tendons and ligaments will have suffered degeneration and your bone surface will become sclerosed. Fortunately, stromal cells can repair the damage your joint has taken, improve the lubrication, repair the degeneration and inflammation. The cells won’t grow cartilage where it has completely diminished but you still have the ability to become pain free and completely mobile.
Even though this concept is a little hard to grasp, we have written a very detailed article explaining this – view the article here.
Does Stem Cell Therapy Work for Knees?
Yes, stem cell therapy is a suitable treatment for knee pain, inflammation and cartilage loss caused by osteoarthritis. The very first patient we treated in 2009 suffered from arthritic knees. Following the success of this treatment, we have seen very good results for many other patients. The knee joint is the most common joint treated here at Macquarie Stem Cells and it does respond very well.
What Can Be Treated With Stem Cells?
A range of joints are able to be treated with stem cell therapy. At Macquarie Stem Cells, we’ve used this treatment on just about every joint in the body. It is extremely common for us to treat multiple joints at the same time, as osteoarthritis can unfortunately cause wear and tear in more than one joint.
Here are some of the joints we have treated which have shown very good improvement:
- Fingers and toes, including thumb joints
- Spine, inclusive from the neck to the lower back
Which Stem Cell is Most Useful?
At Macquarie Stem Cells, we consider the stromal stem cells to be most useful. Stromal cells are a combination of mesenchymal and haematopoietic stem cells including all of the cell strands suspended from the fat stroma. If you would like to read about the mixture of stromal cells, we have put together a publication to explain it all clearly – view the article here. When it comes to the treatment of osteoarthritis. As a result, we use stromal cells in all of our osteoarthritis stem cell treatments to maximise effectiveness.
Does Weight and Age Make a Difference?
Your stem cells obtained from adipose tissue (body fat) will NOT go through the same ageing process as your body does. There have been studies confirming this. Most recently, a study in 2017 conducted by Kokai et al. confirms this. View the study here.
We have treated patients who weigh under 50kgs as well as patients who weight in excess of 130kg and have determined that weight does not appear to change the patient’s response to their own cells. We see very good improvements in patients regardless of weight.
Whilst your weight may not affect your response to this treatment, you will need to keep in mind that weight can impact wear and tear. The correlation with obesity has been observed for knees, hips and other weight bearing joints in addition to non-weight bearing joints. This means the loss of body fat is more closely related to symptom relief than the loss of actual weight induced physical stress. It has been suggested that there may be a metabolic link to body fat as opposed to just mechanical loading.(Michalek et al,. 2015)
As for age, we have treated patients as young as 18 and as old as 94. We have not seen any correlation in an aged population as opposed to a younger population when using adipose derived SVF.
What is the Success Rate of the Treatment?
At Macquarie Stem Cells, we’ve treated well over 800 patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Our high success rate is a result of Dr. Bright’s expertise along with our scientific team. Based on our in-house observations, we have seen approximately a 97% chance of success in relation to patients responding to their own cells.
It is important to remember every patient will respond differently to their own cells. We often notice improvement ranges to vary between 20% to 100% (yes, we have seen many patients reach 100% improvement).
The majority of the patients we treat report an average of 75% improvement in relation to their pain, stiffness and strength of the joint (based on in-house collection of Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index questionnaires).
Are There Any Publications and Literature Reviews Regarding Stem Cell Therapy?
The link below (in blue) is a publication for treating osteoarthritis with stromal cells from fat. This study is utilising a patented method of cell separation by Dr. Ralph Bright, et al. It has been published in the Journal of Evidence Based Medicine & Healthcare Oct. 2015. View the publication here.
There’s also a literature review for treating osteoarthritis, published in January 2017. This study is observing multiple countries, multiple clinics and over 1600 patients treated with their own stem cells. This is a very valuable publication that’s well worth reading. Click Here to read the 2017 OA – Stem Cell Review.
Can Stem Cells Treat Tears to Cartilage and Ligaments?
It can be very common for osteoarthritis sufferers to have comorbidities such as cartilage tears (labrum, meniscus, etc.) or ligament tears. While this does stray away a little from this page, the treatment does work very well. In our blog and main page about treating tears, you can find a lot more information. Click here to learn more about treating tears with stem cells.
Does Stem Cell Therapy Work for the Hip Joint?
We have observed significant improvements in the arthritic hips of our patients. Since 2012, we have formally been treating the hip joints. In the early days we used to notice slow improvement, however we are now noticing hip joint results that are comparable to the results we see in knees.
Of course, you have to keep in mind every patient responds differently.
Is Stem Cell Treatment Suitable for Spine Related Arthritis?
Spine related arthritis refers to osteoarthritis in the spine, inclusive of the neck down to your lower back. Our in-house observations indicate the spine does respond to the treatment, but patients need to keep in mind that in many cases the results will be far greater with multiple treatments. This is where we may need to explain the treatment of cryogenically freezing your cells.
Can Stem Cells Treat Osteoarthritis in the Shoulder?
Whether it affects one shoulder or both, arthritis of the shoulder can be a particularly painful condition. Stem cell therapy has shown great promise for shoulder arthritis treatment, with the potential to provide relief from shoulder pain. We’ve seen extremely successful results for shoulders at Macquarie Stem Cells.
Can Stem Cell Therapy Be Used for Osteoarthritis of the Fingers, Toes and Thumbs?
Interestingly, these smaller joints can cause big issues in limiting a patient’s quality of life. Handling objects, writing, walking and even leaning can become debilitating. Fortunately, stem cell therapy is capable of achieving good results for these smaller joints. The patients we have treated for these smaller joints have all appeared to respond quicker than any other joint in the body.
Want to Learn More About Stem Cell Injections for Osteoarthritis?
If you’ve been considering stem cell therapy as an osteoarthritis treatment, it’s important to know that:
- Age makes no difference
- The grade of osteoarthritis makes no difference (Mild through to bone on bone)
- Body weight makes no difference
- If you suffer from Gout or Pseudo Gout, it needs to be well controlled prior to treatment
To obtain further information, download our information pack or contact us.