For many of the millions of arthritis sufferers, stem cell research seems like an exciting prospect in a dystopian healthcare system advocating debilitating surgeries and progressively higher doses of steroids. Luckily, stem cell therapy is becoming an increasingly popular alternative treatment for a variety of conditions, including degenerative joint disease (DJD).
More commonly known as arthritis, DJD affects millions of new patients each year. In the United States alone, over 50 million adults and 300,000 children are affected. As the name suggests, arthritis is the progressive “breakdown” of the musculoskeletal system at joints. This disease can lead to some very painful and debilitating health issues, such as pain, inflammation, and loss of primary function. While the most common treatment options up until recently have been steroid injections and outright joint replacement, these treatments can be almost as damaging as the disease itself. Over time, the addition of steroids to the body can cause damage to vital tissues and aid in the thinning of bones. Joint replacement is an invasive surgical procedure that is associated with significant complications and an extended recovery period as well as pain, stiffness, and the need for physical therapy. So-called “keyhole” surgeries such as micro-fractures or debridement are stopgap measures to control symptoms, but no treatment up to now could stop or even slow the disease’s progression.
Stem cells are part of a naturally occurring body system for repairing its damaged tissues. When applied directly to an affected area, SVF (adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction, which is stem cell rich “tissue juice,” obtained from one’s fat) can effectively help reverse the effects of a variety of joint pathologies resulting from injury, age, or overuse such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, sports-related injuries, as well as degenerative disk disease.
The Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center in Ocean Springs, MS is studying the efficacy of adipose-derived SVF, delivered directly to the affected site. Adipose-derived stem cells can be obtained by utilizing a quick procedure under local anesthesia, and the procedure is less invasive than obtaining stem cells from bone marrow or other sources. Because all patients can take and accept their own (autologous) adipose tissue-derived stem cells, there is no chance of rejection and the occasional need for reinforcement with reapplication, depending on the individual.
Although the most common understanding of stem cells is the loose association with bone marrow or human embryos, it is the stem cells which already exist within the patient’s body, waiting to be given the marching order to begin repairing the damage, which has researchers most excited. To that end, numerous trials have been conducted in the past few years in the field of regenerative medicine to put autologous stem cells to the test. The results from these small-scale trials were so promising that numerous countries have begun large-scale trials. For instance, a study conducted in Ireland on a sample of 18 arthritic patients was so successful that it led to a multi-million dollar European trial bridging ten separate hospitals and a total of 150 patients. Similarly, a trial conducted in Australia reports that 80% of the 400 patients treated with autologous stem cell therapy reported a significant reduction in pain, improved sleep, and increased joint movement.
Although sufferers of Osteoarthritis and other degenerative musculoskeletal conditions could expect progressively better outcomes within the next decade, researchers are using the promise of stem cells to attempt to treat other diseases as well. A study in Belgium is currently taking aim at Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition. Researchers are also considering stem cell treatment is intervening in cases of heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis as well as even spinal cord damage.
While much of this research is still in the early stages, The Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (GCSC) is excited to be at the forefront of medicine’s future. Utilizing state-of-the-art research methods and some of the finest analytical minds on the Gulf Coast, we endeavor to push forward the progress of regenerative medicine while bringing the exciting results and new procedures home to help our local community. Gulf Coast Stem Cell uses a safe and minimally invasive procedure to collect and utilize patients’ adipose-derived stem cells for use in the management of various health conditions such as arthritis.
Interested patients can fill out a confidential candidate application or call (866) 885-4823. A dedicated member of the Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center team will happily discuss any questions or concerns you may have. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.gulfcoaststemcell.com
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Interested patients can fill out a confidential candidate application or call (866) 885-4823, and a dedicated member of the Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center team will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about orthopedic regenerative stem cell deployments.