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artilage Regeneration using stem cell therapy is not a possibility of the future anymore, it is being considered as a breakthrough in medical science today. In this new age of scientific advancement, patients suffering from osteoarthritis would benefit the most from this therapy as embryonic stem cells can be used for regenerating damaged cartilage of such patients.
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition that affects people that are 60 years or older. It is considered as one of the main causes of disability as it is a highly degenerative disease. This medical condition refers to wearing away of the cartilage in those joints that have undergone continuous stress during the lifetime of a person like knee joints, finger joints, hip joints, and joints of the lower spine.
A research study led by Sue Kimber, a professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Manchester and funded by Arthritis Research UK was published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. The research study revealed how human embryonic stem cells were grown and transformed into new tissue or cartilage cells.
Cartilage is basically a type of flexible connective tissue that connects the joints between the rib cage, bones, nose, ear, the intervertebral discs, the bronchial tubes, and several other components of the human body. A cartilage is not as rigid and hard as a bone but it is less flexible and stiffer than a muscle.
The cartilage does not contain any nerves (aneural) or blood vessels (avascular). It is the articular cartilage that is undergoes considerable damage especially in people above the age of 60 or those involved in a variety of physically strenous sports like athletics or football. They display different mechanical properties especially in load bearing joints like hip and knee and these include tensile loading, compressive, frictional, and shear.
Cartilage Regeneration and Osteoarthritis go hand in hand. The conventional treatment aims to reduce pain, minimize disability, and maintain mobility. The most common type of cartilage damage experienced by people across the world is the cartilage injury to the knee. This is also known as cartilage lesions of the knee or localized cartilage damage and can lead to early osteoarthritis.
The techniques that currently exist have successfully treated small unipolar lesions i.e, treatment of a single bone of the knee. Bipolar lesions often known as "bone-on-bone" lesions involve are not known to respond that well to the existing cartilage treatments. This is where human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) play an important role.
Laboratory studies have shown that human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have the capacity to repair cartilage.
Cartilage Regeneration using human embryonic stem cell therapy is fairly new and is still in its early experimental stages. Hence, most people including osteoarthritis patients are also unaware of what this therapy is and how it really works. Some important and interesting facts that will enable the understanding of the cartilage regeneration stem cell therapy include:
1. Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are considered to be pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent refers to the ability of the stem cells to differentiate into one of the three germ layers:
2. Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) used for cartilage regeneration are normally derived from the inner cell mass (ICM) of a blastocyst, which is a structure that is formed during the early developmental days in humans and mammals.
3. Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) derived during the blastocyst stage in human cell embryos can be distinguished by their ability to propagate and differentiate into any type of cell.
4. Medical research on embryonic stem cells (ES cells) have revealed that they can be used for a variety of cell replacement therapies (CRTs) and are being developed include cardiomyocytes (CM) or Cardiac muscle cells, hepatocytes or cells of the parenchymal tissue of liver, neurons or nerve cell, islet cells or pancreatic cell, endothelial cells or epithelium cells that line the interior surface of lymphatic vessels and blood vessels, and bone marrow cells.
5. Human embryonic stem cells are being used for determining nature and type of genetic and chromosomal disorders and repairing DNA damage apart from cartilage regeneration.
6. The first clinical trial of human embryonic stem cells was carried out on January 23, 2009 with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The clinical trial was carried out for the transplantation of oligodendrocytes, which is a type of cell present in the spinal cord and brain. The derived human embryonic stem cells were transplanted into patients suffering from spinal cord injury.
Cartilage regeneration through transplantation of embryonic stem cells offers a promising future for treatment of millions of people suffering from osteoarthritis. Repair of knee joints will lead to increased quality of life. Research studies are being conducted and laboratory experiments are being carried out related to transplantation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The good news is that human embryonic stem cells can be grown in unlimited quantities for large-scale use and also for cartilage regeneration therapy.
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Stem Cell Therapy Abroad