Researchers Unravel the Role of Stem Cells in Joint Regeneration

Study from Vienna gives insight into the healing process of cartilage damage

Vienna (2018-02-27) — The body’s own stem cells show remarkable success in the treatment of joint problems such as osteoarthritis and sports injuries. This is proven by scientific studies on patients worldwide. The stem cells required for the treatment can be obtained from body fat. So far, it was not known in detail how the stem cells contribute to the regeneration of the joints. New research findings now provide an answer.

The current study on the animal model shows that mesenchymal stem cells transplanted in damaged tissue stimulate the already existing stem cells for regeneration. As a result, defective joint structures, such as worn cartilage, can regenerate to some degree. Ideally, the pain subsides and the affected joint regains mobility.

“The transplantation of the body’s own fat stem cells strengthens a natural healing mechanism and helps the body to repair the defect on its own,” explains DDr. Karl-Georg Heinrich, physician working in the field of regenerative and aesthetic medicine from Vienna. In his Clinic DDr. Heinrich®, tissue damages such as joint wear, sports injuries of joints, and scars are treated with stem cells from autologous body fat.

Until recently, scientists have not been able to study the fate of transplanted cells in the body for a longer period of time. The researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, used a newly developed procedure to mark stem cells before transplantation. Thereby they were able to observe the role of the stem cells in the regenerative processes over a period of 6 months.

The regenerative abilities of stem cells are already used in human medicine today: In the Clinic DDr. Heinrich® joint treatment with autologous stem cells is performed as an outpatient procedure in local anesthesia. First, a small amount of the patient’s body fat is harvested. Therefrom mesenchymal stem cells and other vital cells (Stromal Vascular Fraction, SVF) are separated during the procedure. The SVF is immediately injected into joint areas where regeneration is needed.

“Stem cells from the body’s own fat provide a gentle alternative for many patients for whom surgery under general anesthesia or an artificial joint replacement is out of the question,” says DDr. Heinrich. Patients suffering from joint disease could be spared the time-consuming rehabilitation, off time, and the constant intake of pain medications.

Further information:

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