Stem cells are getting a lot of press coverage as scientists look to use them to treat a wide variety of diseases. Stem cells are receiving this focus as the have the ability to turn into many other types of cell. Researcher looking into osteoarthritis hope to be able to harness their power to rebuild the articular cartilage that has been worn away.
There has been some excitement lately as a British team have announced they will commence a human trial at the end of this year bringing theory into practice.
They plan to combine stem cells with an existing treatment for knee osteoarthritis, Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation. ACI is the harvesting of cartilage cells via keyhole surgery and growing them in a laboratory. They are later implanted into the joint to cover the defect.
The new study will look at adding stem cells to the cartilage cells as well as looking at adding both stem cells and bone marrow cells to the cartilage mix. It is hoped that the new technique will demonstrate a longer term solution to knee joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. The study will run throughout 2011 and will include around 70 patients.
More information can be found here.