Is Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis Safe and Effective?
In 2014, tennis player Rafael Nadal’s career was in decline when he decided to seek stem cell treatment for his injured back. Nadal’s doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, told the Associated Press that the tennis star would have stem cells introduced to a joint in his spine. Since that point, Nadal has fully recovered from his setback. In fact, he now stands at number one in the world in the Association of Tennis Professionals’ ATP World Tour men’s singles rankings (leading Roger Federer 9310 to 7080 total points on August 6, 2018).
Thrown into the spotlight by use among professional athletes such as Nadal, stem cell treatments have become increasingly popular for musculoskeletal conditions, ranging from injuries to osteoarthritis. Taking Nadal as a case study, you certainly have to conclude that this approach is safe and effective. However, many are still wondering whether or not these therapies, the science for which is still rapidly developing, should be considered safe and effective treatments for arthritis.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Safe for Arthritis?
People want to find the safest possible treatments for arthritis. Safety has been established for stem cells in the treatment of numerous disorders. Stanford University researchers revealed in 2016 that adult stem cells, when injected directly into the brain, helped safely restore motor function in chronic stroke patients. Similarly, a study in the Journal of Translational Medicine determined that multiple sclerosis (MS) was safely treatable with umbilical cord stem cells. A study by orthopedist Shane Shapiro of the Mayo Clinic found stem cell therapy to be safe for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) as well.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Arthritis?
Since stem cell therapy is one of the newest treatments for arthritis, research into its mechanisms is ongoing. As noted by Dr. Gaurav K. Goswamin, MD, researchers believe that when stem cells are introduced to a joint to treat arthritis, they can develop into new, healthy cartilage cells. They are also believed to emit cytokines, proteins that can both alleviate pain and reduce the rate at which cartilage is degrading; and they are thought to help limit inflammation, which can exacerbate arthritis.
While the field of research is young, studies indicate the effectiveness of stem cell therapy. Stem cell regeneration tests for the treatment of knees and hips with osteoarthritis was conducted successfully by researchers at Dr. John Hopkins Arthritis Center, for instance. Another study, performed in Jacksonville, Florida, found that patients who received stem cell treatments for their knee arthritis reported significant pain relief.
Stem cell therapy treatments in Atlanta
Are you suffering from the excruciating pain of arthritis? At Atlanta Medical Clinic, we use pluripotent, amniotic-derived stem cells to copy and reproduce your exact cartilage cells. See how this treatment grows healthy new tissue.