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Stem Cell Therapy

What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are cells that can self-renew and differentiate into other cells. Stem cell therapy has recently generated a lot of interest and patients hope that it can help them quicker return to activities, whether they suffer from soft tissue injuries or injuries with unpredictable treatment. Stem cell therapy has shown promise, but there is insufficient evidence on how this will translate into efficacy in patient care. 

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What conditions can Stem cell Therapy treat?

Corticosteroids can be injected into a variety of different joints throughout the body to treat acute or chronic inflammatory processes. For example, your provider may recommend a steroid injection for tendonitis, meniscus repairs, labral repairs, adhesive capsulitis, bursitis or other acute or chronic inflammatory conditions. 

Risks and Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy

Corticosteroids has been proven to help many patients with pain relating to inflammatory conditions as listed above. Although many patients experience some degree of pain relief following injection, there is no guarantee for expected relief and duration of relief varies from person to person. ​

Corticosteroid injections are generally well tolerated by most

  • No more than 3 injections per year in weight bearing joints to prevent risk of long term cartilage deterioration 

  • No steroid injection within 3 months of surgery due to its immunosuppressive effects

Current Areas of Study
  • Criteria for classifying populations of stem cells

    • There currently is a lot of variability and heterogeneity in stem cell populations. For example, minimally manipulated populations that come from adipose tissue and bone marrow are much different than lab populations of stem cells, where stem cell populations specifically are isolated and undergo culture expansion.

    • Many of the studies which have shown benefit have used the lab prepared cell lines, whereas many treatments available to patients utilize their own cells (minimally manipulated).

    • Future study will help us know how to apply the knowledge from these studies to specific patients and their illnesses.

  • Methods to characterize the qualities of a cell population

    • Different cell populations may be used for different functions, from cell proliferation and matrix synthesis to the inhibition of apoptosis. 

  • Effect of other biologic compounds on the stem cells once injected

    • Mediators or signals like cytokines and growth factors work with the stem cells and may need to be placed with the cells to harness the full capabilities of these cells, yet we do not know which compounds or which quantities of them will be beneficial.

My Approach
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