Stem cell therapy for knee cartilage regeneration

Knee Cartilage Regeneration | Stem Cells for Cartilage Repair, Part 1

Scott Brandt, M.D. Knee Replacement Alternative, PRP, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells for Joint & Soft Tissue Pain, Stem Cells for Knee

Knee pain from osteoarthritis remains a major cause of disability and missed worked days.  Conservative treatment is typically aimed at relieving pain and begins with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and opioid pain medications. Injection therapy with corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid will often be used as the next line of treatment for knee cartilage repair.  Surgical treatments such as arthroscopy, subchondral bone drilling and microfracture are often the next steps in the treatment cascade.

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Unfortunately, many of these patients continue to progress and eventually undergo knee joint replacement surgery. Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that has the potential to decrease inflammation, halt the progression of the arthritic damage, repair joint cartilage, and delay or avoid knee replacement surgery.

Articular Knee Cartilage Damage

Articular cartilage damage, especially when it affects the knee joint, remains a major clinical problem due to the poor intrinsic ability for this tissue to repair itself. The major function of joint cartilage is to allow for smooth gliding of joint surfaces and protect the surrounding bone from stress. This is key for being able to continue doing sports such as skiing. Articular cartilage allows the knee to absorb shock and loads up to 20 times the body weight.

The Impact of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder that ultimately leads to a gradual deterioration of knee joint cartilage.  Osteoarthritis may also be the result of a prior injury to the knee joint such as a fracture, tendon damage and ligament tears.

knee cartilage patient testimonial

Patient from Iowa uses stem cell therapy to help relieve knee arthritis and Achilles tendon pain. – Patient Testimonial

Individual patient results may vary. Please contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

This may lead to joint instability which can cause wear and tear to the articular cartilage. Arthritis can affect not only the cartilage but may lead to damage of the bone beneath the cartilage, the synovial lining to the joint, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Types of Stem Cells for Degenerative Knee Cartilage

Injection of progenitor cells, especially mesenchymal stem cells, has been shown to be a better strategy to repair degenerative cartilage than implantation of differentiated cells such as articular cartilage. Adult stem cells have a reliable potential to differentiate into cartilage, bone, fat or soft tissue. They also display the ability to home to areas of inflammation and degeneration, and to modify immune system activity that can favorably influence the surrounding cartilage in areas of damage.

stem cell knee cartilage
Encouragingly, results of pre-clinical and clinical trials have provided initial evidence of efficacy and safety in the therapeutic use of mesenchymal stem cell therapies for the treatment of knee cartilage damage and osteoarthritis. Cell-based therapy has become a key focus of tissue engineering research focused on functional replacement of cartilage and meniscus regeneration. 

A year long animal study has provided research that demonstrates that stem cell treatments provide structural regeneration with mechanical properties comparable with the native cartilage.

Stem Cell Extraction Methods

Adult stem cells can be extracted by minimally invasive methods from fat tissue and bone marrow.

  • Bone marrow stem cells have a good potential for differentiation and the concentrated cells have numerous growth factors that aid in the cartilage formation process. Cell numbers in bone marrow unfortunately dramatically decrease as we age and are often ineffective in older patients.
  • Fat derived stem cells show an enhanced ability to differentiate into cartilage and are found in dramatically higher numbers than seen in bone marrow. Not only are they typically 500-2000 times more abundant but they don’t decrease as we age. Fat derived cells have been shown to be successfully employed to target cartilage defects and improve osteoarthritis in patient studies. Fat derived adult stem cells have also demonstrated improved outcomes over bone marrow for cartilage repair.

Not all research is favorable to stem cell therapy at this time due to a wide variation in techniques and cell choice from discrepancies in treatment methods. Due to the many ways stem cell therapy is performed, we see that some variations are not as potent as others.

Supplement with PRP or Concentrated Placental Growth Factors

A minimally invasive procedure to harvest stem cells from both fat and bone marrow and inject the concentrated cells under image guidance can be performed in 2-3 hours. This procedure when supplemented with additional growth factors from platelet rich plasma or concentrated placental growth factors combines the best properties from each source.

Potential Treatment Results

Clinical outcomes from ongoing and previous studies are very encouraging, demonstrating the ability to improve pain and generate knee cartilage repair.  Many patients have been able to avoid knee surgery as a results of  advanced stem cell therapies – learn more about the results of a stem cell patient from Denver. Further studies will help to define specific cell and growth factor combinations to maximize cartilage regeneration.

*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

stem cells for disc cartilage regeneration

Disc Cartilage Regeneration | Stem Cells for Cartilage Repair, Part 2

For more of Dr. Brandt’s insight on stem cells for cartilage repair, as applied in treatment of severe low back pain, check out the part 2 of this series: stem cells for disc cartilage regeneration.

Next Step

If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy for knee cartilage regeneration, please contact us today.

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John Beeman
John Beeman
23:05 08 Jan 17
I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve--remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can't remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!
Laurel Wilkerson
Laurel Wilkerson
21:22 08 Aug 16
Great job by the Thrive MD team in Edwards. With a torn achilles tendon, I was really opposed to surgery. When I discovered Dr. Brandt and team, I was thrilled. They are most professional and explained every step of the process and procedure for treatment options. I am on the road to recovery, and I am so thankful to have discovered Thrive. Before you let an orthopedic doc operate, take the time to explore and discuss stem cell therapy. Thrive MD made the process easy and convenient. Thanks! One year later update - ankle is doing great. Skied 52 days in 2015-16. Hiking, biking and all are no problem. Great team of caring people who know their business.
Lisa Harris
Lisa Harris
15:59 02 Jan 17
After struggling with an Achilles injury for 1 1/2 years and trying everything to heal it - steroid, physical therapy, wearing a boot, no activity, stretching, etc - I decided to have stem cell therapy at Thrive.md. It was a short procedure and an afternoon of post op recovery, which after 6-8 weeks, resulted in a full recovery from my injury. This seemed to finally stimulate blood flow and healing to an injury I had resigned myself to having forever. I highly recommend this procedure for tendon injuries like this one.
John Reilly
John Reilly
13:44 04 Nov 16
I saw Dr Brandt on 8/8/16 for a lower back stem cell injection. From the injection, I got a serious infection in my lower spine. As a result, I spent 2 days in the Vail hospital and have been on daily IV antibiotics for the past 8 weeks. A few weeks after the injection, I started feeling increased pain which was a different pain than before my injection. It was much sharper and a shooting pain. I communicated this information to Dr Brandt and his staff. There only response and treatment was stronger pain meds. oral and injected steroids (the worst thing to do when an infection is present). The pain became so intense and debilitating, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Their team quickly discovered from listening to my symptoms and reviewing a new MRI that I had an infection. I also discovered from a search on DORA that over the past 13 years Dr Brandt's has a history of incidents with the DORA which regulates medical professionals. Over this time, his license was suspended for a period of time and is he currently practicing on probation through 2019. At one point, the AG said he was unfit to practice medicine.
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
03:55 14 Nov 16
I am a pain management physician myself. I am 52, and physically very active. I still play soccer competitively. Six months ago I suffered a hip injury with a labrum tear. Due to the pre-existing wear and tear, the only conventional treatment, which was offered to me was total hip replacement. I wanted to remain physically active and continue to play sports, so I decided that this is not the best option for me. I choose instead to try stem-cell therapy. Ten days ago I had my procedure done by Dr. Brandt, and since then I have nothing but positive things to say about him and his practice. Everyone in his office was extremely welcoming and put me at ease and comfort about my procedure. The procedure went very smooth. And I did not have ANY post procedure pain or discomfort. I had no need for any pain medication. I was back to work seeing patients on the 2nd day after the procedure. My hip already feels noticeably better. I have the second procedure scheduled in four weeks, and I am confident that in another 3-4 weeks I'll be back playing soccer again. Thank you, Dr. Brandt and team for taking such excellent care of me.
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