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Stem Cells Can Repair Knee Cartilage Damage

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Research Inching Closer to Prove Cartilage Repair and Avoid Surgery

The most common disease affecting the knee is osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, causing pain and swelling. Knee problems are very common, and they occur in people of all ages. Knee problems can interfere with many things, from participation in sports to simply getting up from a chair and walking. This can have a big impact on your life.

Patients suffering from osteoarthritis are now closer to getting relief for their painful joints as researchers took a step forward in successfully producing cartilage from stem cells.

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Using new procedures and protocols, researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK were able to grow healthy cartilage from stem cells under strict laboratory conditions. These studies which were done in rats, showed promising results as the new cartilage was healthy. And just as importantly showed that the rats had none of the adverse side-effects, such as growth of abnormal or disorganized tissue or tumors, which had blackened the results in the early years of stem cell research.

The World Health Organization estimates that around 9.6% of men and 18.0% of women aged over 60 years have symptomatic osteoarthritis, a major cause of disability. It is a degenerative disease caused by wearing away of cartilage in joints.

To rejuvenate the joints, the cartilage must be replaced. Cartilage cells - also known as chondrocytes - are formed from precursor cells called chondroprogenitors. The team’s research focused on developing a new protocol to generate these chondroprogenitors from stem cells. They implanted the precursor cartilage cells into damaged cartilage in the knee joints of rats.

After 4 weeks the cartilage was partially repaired. After 12 weeks, the cartilage surface was smooth and similar in appearance to normal cartilage. There were no adverse effects or abnormal growths.

Although still at the experimental stage, this is the first major step to running trials in people with arthritis. Still needed are sufficient tests on efficacy and safety. The team is already planning their next steps, and hopes to produce more positive research in the near future. 

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Traditional options for patients suffering from the knee or hip injury, arthritis or pain include arthroscopic joint surgery, total knee or hip joint replacement. Besides the cost and the risks of those orthopedic surgeries, several months of rehabilitation is usually needed after the surgeries.

For many patients these intense orthopedic surgeries may not be an option due to their younger age especially considering the fact that we are living longer and more active lifestyle and the Joint Replacement may not last for more than 10 to 15 years. Also, the injuries may not be serious enough to require any surgery.

As an alternative to the knee and hip (and other joints) surgery or replacement, SmartChoice® Joint Procedures may help alleviate joint pain, arthritis and other medical conditions that caused it with a simple office injection procedure. We encourage the patients to walk the same day and most experience almost no downtime after our procedures whatsoever.

And if you are considering a knee, hip or other joint replacement, you might want to learn about how the adult stem cells and PRP procedures stack up against these risky Orthopedic surgeries.

When comparing two options - a treatment that involves simply an injection of your own natural cells in an outpatient setting may be significantly more attractive option for many patients than undergoing risky orthopedic surgery and replacing your entire joint with artificial material.

Patients coping with arthritis, sports injuries, tendon strains, sprained ligaments, muscle injuries and more, will be comforted to know that surgery is not the only option of treatment available to them. Faster healing as well as improved functionality both are possible with innovative, cutting- edge adult stem cell and PRP procedures.

The SmartChoice® Joint Procedures offer non-surgical, stem cell and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) procedures for the patients who are suffering from knee pain or may be facing knee surgery or total knee replacement from tendon, ligament or bone injuries, arthritis and other medical conditions. 

Hardesh Garg        Dr. Garg is an expert in these procedures and is one of the few physicians in this country helping patients with this exciting Regenerative medicine using your own stem cells and PRP. Non-surgical, office-based SmartChoice® Joint Procedures provide ALTERNATIVES to invasive and costly joint replacements and other orthopedic surgeries.



  1. Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis with Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells:A Pilot Study. Orozco L, Munar A, Soler R, Alberca M, Soler F, Huguet M, Sentís J, Sánchez A, García-Sancho-  J. Transplantation. 2013 May 15.
  2. Mesenchymal stem cell-based treatment for cartilage defects in osteoarthritis. Qi Y, Feng G, Yan W.  Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):5683-9.
  3. Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injections Improve Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis. Koh YG, Jo SB, Kwon OR, Suh DS, Lee SW, Park SH, Choi Y.  J. Arthroscopy. 2013 Jan 29.
  4. Intra-articular injection of autologous mesenchymal stem cells in six patients with knee osteoarthritis. Emadedin M, Aghdami N, Taghiyar L, Fazeli R, Moghadasali R, Jahangir S, Farjad R, Baghaban Eslaminejad M. Arch Iran Med. 2012 Jul;15(7):422-8.
  5. Comparative Effectiveness of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections for Treating Knee Joint Cartilage Degenerative Pathology: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Chang KV, Hung CY, Aliwarga F, Wang TG, Han DS, Chen WS. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Nov 27.
  6. A Randomized Clinical Trial Evaluating Plasma Rich in Growth Factors (PRGF-Endoret) Versus Hyaluronic Acid in the Short-Term Treatment of Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis. Sánchez M, Fiz N, Azofra J, et al.    Arthroscopy. 2012 Aug;28(8):1070-8.
  7. Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis with Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Pilot Study. Orozco L, Munar A, Soler R, Alberca M, Soler F, Huguet M, Sentís J, Sánchez A, García-Sancho J.  Transplantation. 2013 May 15.
  8. Intra-articular injection of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: A proof-of-concept clinical trial. Jo CH, Lee YG, Shin WH, Kim H, Chai JW, Jeong EC, Kim JE, Shim H, Shin JS, Shin IS, Ra JC, Oh S, Yoon KS. Stem Cells. 2014 Jan 21.
  9.  Clinical outcome of autologous bone marrow aspirates concentrate (BMAC) injection in degenerative arthritis of the knee, Jae-Do Kim, Gun Woo Lee, Gu Hee Jung, Cheung Kue Kim,Taehun Kim, Jin Hyung Park, Seong Sook Cha, Young-Bin You, European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & TraumatologyJanuary 2014
  10. Treatment of chronic patellar tendinopathy with autologous bone marrow stem cells: a 5-year-followup. Pascual-Garrido C, et al. Stem Cells Int. 2012; Epub 2011 Dec 18.
  11. Mesenchymal stem cells for cartilage repair in osteoarthritis. Pawan K Gupta1, Anjan K Das2, Anoop Chullikana1 and Anish S Majumdar. Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2012, 3:25 


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