Stem cell therapy helped improve the quality of life of those affected by osteoarthritis by more than 290%, suggest researchers from Melbourne Stem Cell Centre.
The study, reportedly the first of its type and published in Regenerative Medicine, also suggests that stem cells can stop the progression of osteoarthritis and regrow cartilage.

“[This study] validates stem cell therapy as a real treatment option,” says professor Julien Freitag, Head of Clinical Research at Melbourne Stem Cell Centre and the study’s principal clinical investigator, in the release.

The study suggests the following findings, per the release:

  • Statistical and clinically significant pain and function improvement following stem cell therapy in 85% of patients (observed as early as 1 month following treatment);
  • Trial subjects experienced a dramatic decrease in pain and a big increase in functional activity with stem cell treatment, resulting in their quality of life scores improving almost three-fold (290%);
  • Average pain improvement of 69% at 12 months follow-up;
  • Significantly greater pain improvement compared to current conventional therapies, including use of anti-inflammatories, a prescribed exercise program and knee arthroscopy;
  • Progression of arthritis halted in the majority (89%) of participants who underwent multiple stem cell injections;
  • Evidence of cartilage regrowth; and
  • Stem cell therapy was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events.

Frietag cautions, however, that research-based stem cell treatment should not replace effective lifestyle-focused, conservative treatment.

“It is important for patients to follow their doctor’s advice, which may be to continue with traditional methods such as exercise and weight management, which are important additional factors in achieving a healthy and active lifestyle,” he says.

“Stem cell therapy may be one piece of the puzzle in the management of arthritis, but it does not replace the proactive measures which can be achieved by patients themselves.”

[Source(s): Melbourne Stem Cell Centre, PR Newswire]