Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment: Stem Cell Therapies
- There are many factors and conditions that could lead to arthritis, which in general means “inflammation of the joints.”
- Arthritis is classed as degenerative and/or inflammatory.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative arthritis. Primary osteoarthritis would be looked at as a genetic, while secondary osteoarthritis generally come from mechanical stresses from deformity, misalignment of limbs or acute injury.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, caused by an autoimmune attack on the lining of the joints. Scientists think genetic and environmental factors are also involved. Other types of inflammatory arthritis are lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and gout.
- Arthritis can affect people of any age and ethnicity, but in general people 50+ are seen to be the main sufferers.
Osteoarthritis is on the rise, in part because of the aging population but also because of obesity, which strains the joints by increasing the load they carry.
- The underlying symptoms of arthritis are chronic pain in the joints, muscles and bones, stiffness and swelling.
- Treatments for arthritis aim to alleviate pain and minimize loss of function. Exercise improves muscle strength and conditioning, drugs reduce inflammation and control pain, and surgical procedures realign, redesign, or replace damaged joints.
- Stem cell treatment can help give relief to arthritis symptoms.
Arthritis Stem Cell Therapies:
The use stem cells to treat arthritis is proving an effective treatment due to the stem cells used having anti-inflammatory and regenerative capacities. For example, some stem cells have been shown to harmonise the aggressive immune system response, inhibit inflammation, stimulate blood vessel formation, repair tissue and help transplanted stem cells to engraft. Stem cells can also make cartilage.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Arthritis:
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have tremendous flexibility to make a variety of different cell types, including bone, fat, muscle, cartilage, bone marrow and tendon. They can dampen the immune system response, inhibit inflammation, stimulate blood vessel formation, repair tissue and help transplanted stem cells to engraft. Transplanted MSCs do not lead to extensive graft rejection even when the donor and recipient are unrelated. And MSCs are easily collected from bone marrow, fat, and umbilical cord.
MSCs are also being used as anti-inflammatories to support the regeneration of cartilage in affected joints, and the results so far are positive.