Stem Cell Therapy: A Holy Grail for Treating ArthritisAugust 05, 2019 August 05, 2019
My hands have bumps, toes cocked up, my waist is all fused and cannot be moved, and my knees are all swollen. Daily activities like brushing, dressing, sleeping, and bathing are very challenging for me. However, all the pain vanishes when I see a huge smile on my children’s face and the love and care I receive from my loved ones. I will fight until the end.
This is an unfortunate story of a mother suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s her strong will for her family that keeps her going. Alexa is doing fine now and getting her stem cell treatment in the USA. Let’s understand more about this chronic disease.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States with 26% in women and 18% in men. These numbers are on the rise and doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to reach more than 78 million by 2040, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Arthritis is joint pain or disease that has affected millions of Americans of all ages and sexes. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis with more than 50 million adults, and 300,000 children suffer from some type or the other.
Most common arthritis joint symptoms are:
restricted body movement
They may progress and get worse to cause permanent joint changes. It also results in chronic pain and difficulty in the movement that hampers daily activities. It is considered to affect the joints, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and eyes too.
Types of Arthritis
1. Degenerative Arthritis
Osteoarthritis Arthritis (OA) is the most common example of degenerative arthritis. Older people are more prone to this disease, along with athletes, military personnel, laborers, etc.
Unfortunately, it is a progressive disease and has no cure. It is common in the knees, hips, fingers joints, neck, lower back, toe, and bases of the thumb.
Normally, cartilage covers the ends of each bone and acts as a cushion between the bones enabling a smooth and gliding surface for easy leg movement. While in OA, the cartilage breaks down causing pain, swelling, and improper leg movements. With time, the bone breaks down forming growths, these bits of bones and cartilage float around in the joint.
Further damage to cartilage causes inflammation. The final stages are more painful as the cartilage wears off and bones rub with each other. Early intervention, reducing chronic pain with pain medications and physical therapy is the best alternative. Joint replacement can also work, but it is expensive and may lead to major problems.
Three golden rules to live with arthritis:
Keep yourself active
Maintain a healthy weight
Avoid excessive movements
2. Inflammatory Arthritis
A healthy immune system protects your body from foreign substances like viruses, microbes, bacteria and other toxins, but suddenly it turns awry and attacks the joints causing inflammation, joint erosion, and such internal damages like eyes and other organs.
Studies reveal that the reason behind this is a combination of genetics and environmental factors like smoking.
Early intervention and aggressive medication are critical in this type of arthritis. Doctors aim to reduce pain, joint damage, and improve body function using disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to maintain quality of life.
Examples: Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis.
3. Infectious Arthritis
Here, the main culprits are the bacterium, fungus, or virus. They attack the joint and leave you with inflammation. The only solution is timely treatment with antibiotics, but with time it becomes more chronic.
These organisms enter through food transmission, sexually transmitted diseases and often through needle transfusions. Some organisms include salmonella, gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, etc.
4. Metabolic Arthritis
Uric acid is a chemical produced when the body breaks down purines (a substance found in foods like meat). In some cases, the levels of uric acid increases, as they are produced more than necessary or the body doesn’t get rid of it quickly. This builds up to form needle-like crystals in the joints that result in ‘gout attack’ characterized by severe pain, swelling, redness, tenderness in the joints or the toe.
Stem Cell and Arthritis
About 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis, which consists of 40 million Americans, including over a quarter-million children. (1)
Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and more than 21 million have osteoarthritis.
Maximum arthritis patients are under 65 years of age, with nearly 60% being women.
The good news is that a recent clinical trial as published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine (SCTM) cited that stem cells are a safe and effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA). (2)
In this, the researchers used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the patient’s bone marrow under local anesthesia to treat KOA. Around 12 patients with moderate to severe KOA were treated with different doses of MSC.
At the end of the 12 months, there were significant improvements in pain levels and quality of life.
MSCs were safe at all amount of doses. Higher the quantity of doses, better the outcome.
Improvement in pain, function, and quality, through an anti-inflammatory mechanism of action.
“Donor Heterogeneity is an essential factor and our assembled panel of genes helps in identifying potent cells for OA. We hope to translate this into a larger clinical trial,” mentioned by Dr. Sownya Vishwanathan, Ph.D., University Health Network, Toronto.
The next question that pops is what makes stem cells so special. Head down to know more.
The 3Ds of Stem Cell:
Stem cells have the potential to divide and duplicate themselves.
It can develop into different types of cells.
For example, it can develop into cartilage cells or bone cells to improve body function.
When stem cells are placed in a different environment, it can transform itself to fulfill a certain need.
For treating arthritis, the most common stem cells in MSCs are obtained from the blood, fat tissue, and bone marrow. These stem cells are collected from different parts of the body, and the process of collecting stem cells from the bloodstream is known as ‘harvesting’.
The adipose fat stem cells are collected using liposuction and surgery, peripheral blood stem cells (blood sample), and bone marrow stem cells (patient’s bone).
What are the treatments available for arthritis?
joint replacement surgery
Out of all these, regenerative medication is considered to be the best alternative. Expert stem cell treatment in the USA. Head down to clear up the most common doubts.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Safe?
65-year-old Roger, suffering from knee osteoarthritis (KOA) was afraid when the doctor recommended stem cell therapy due to many misconceptions.
Anyhow, he badly wanted to get rid of the chronic pain that gave him restless night for years. Just like him, there are many suffering and yet reluctant to undergo the therapy.
Let’s talk about the real question now! Is stem cell therapy really effective?
Researches have shown that stem cells have potential in replacing or regenerating a damaged joint. Stem cell therapy using adult stem cells is safe as the stem cells are generated from the patient’s body reducing risks of unwanted reaction.
Risks may occur if:
1. Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are used instead of adult stem cells.
2. The stem cells are taken and grown in a laboratory.
3. Mixed with other chemicals.
These types of contaminated stem cells can increase the risk of tumor or cancer.
How does it work?
When applied to an arthritic joint, stem cells can develop into cartilage cells, reduce inflammation, and release cytokines (proteins) that slow down cartilage degeneration and pain.
Many researchers believe that stem cells have positive results but many believe that it can be a placebo (medication prescribed for psychological benefit).
Critics hovering around stem cell therapy
There are several controversies surrounding stem cell therapy since there is no standard stem cell therapy for arthritis treatment. Medical institutions have a difference in harvesting their stem cells or the method of separating stem cells from the blood.
After you approach a specialist, make sure you ask the following questions:
Q.1) What is your level of expertise in this field? (Number of cases, success stories, etc.)
Q.2) What is your method of stem cell harvesting?
Q.3) What is the accuracy in using stem cell injections?
Q.4) What are the risks and possibilities of this therapy?
Living with arthritis is difficult but not impossible if you give more preferences to your health by eating well and being active; everything that a normal person does.
Scroll down to know some amazing information to maintain healthy eating habits.
Fight Back with these Natural Remedies: Eating Well
Free Radicals– Free radicals are negatively charged atoms that help in fighting pathogens. According to its nature, these atoms or molecules are in search of positively charged atoms. A body produces free radicals as a part of normal metabolism but an excess of smoking, drinking, and oily food can cause inflammation.
Oxidative Stress– It is known to be an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. Too many free radicals causes an imbalance in the body. Thus, a proper balance of both is required, as free radicals can damage your protein, lipids generating inflammation conditions.
Antioxidants- These substances prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. They help in neutralizing free radicals and boost overall health. It is found in plant-based foods.
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis that includes fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and likewise. Refrain from consuming nightshade vegetables like tomato, eggplant, peppers, potatoes as the chemical ‘solanine’ present may increase the pain.
The ball is in your court!
Stem cell therapy is still a new concept in the market but in the last several years, the global stem cell therapy market is developing fast at an average rate of 46.81% with more cases of a bone marrow transplant.
At this rate, the stem cell therapy market will observe a 20.7% CAGR in terms of revenue and the global market size will reach US$ 710 million in 2024 from US$ 280 million in 2019. (3)
Several famous athletes have undergone this therapy and are playing great like the famous tennis player Rafael Nadal, football champion Cristiano Ronaldo and a lot more.
Regen America is a center for regenerative medicine and is driven to provide quality life to patients suffering from chronic pain with painless and innovative stem cell treatment in the USA. We encourage people to opt for stem cell therapy over painful surgery. Visit us for more info!