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Arthritis Damaged Cartilage may be treated with Stem Cells

January 30th, 2006

Arthritis Damaged Cartilage may be treated with Stem Cells

Cartilage in a joint (in red)

A study published in the February 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism found that rats treated with muscle-derived stem cells helped to repair torn cartilage.

Articular cartilage which is the cartilage found at the ends of bones where they meet at a joint can become damaged from injury or illness.  At this time there is no treatment to restore and repair completely this type of injured cartilage.  The researcherís looked further into the possibility of stem cells that came from muscles instead of bone marrow.  The researchers on this study took the muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) with a therapeutic protein to see if the articular cartilage could be repaired in rats.


The lead researcher Johnny Huard, PhD who is director of the Growth and Development Laboratory at Childrenís Hospital of Pittsburgh and is also an associate professor in the departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine and along with other researchers researched what would happen to damaged knee joints in 36 rats that were 12 weeks old.


The researchers further divided the knee injured rats into 3 groups.  Group 1 had the stem cell treatment that was embedded in fibrin glue.  Group 2 had the stem cells that were cultured with genetically engineered expression of bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4).  Group 3 was the control group treated with fibrin glue.

The rats with the most repaired tissue were the MDSC-B4 group, (group 2) with results measured at 8, 12 and 24 weeks after the surgery was performed.  The other groups did not show much improvement and by the 24 week there was deterioration of the cartilage.

 "This finding indicates that continuous endogenous BMP-4 supplied by MDSCs genetically modified to express BMP-4 over an extended period of time can enhance articular cartilage healing," said the author of the study.

There has been a lot of research for cartilage repair with stems cells that are derived from bone marrow, but this study is the first to research stem cells that come from muscle.  The researchers believe that this study shows proof-of-principle for having MDSC implantation in adult humans.  The author of this study also suggests that patients could possibly be their own stem cell donors.  This research offers hope for possible treatments in the future for people suffering from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


common keywords and misspellings:  arthitis artitis joint paine cartiliage dammaged repairred treetment reserch stemcell


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