Synovium Stem Cell Shots Delay Cartilage Degeneration
The synovium is the thin membrane that covers the inside of hip and knee joints. Now researcher Nobutake Ozeki, of Tokyo Mental and Dental University in Japan, with his colleagues, has found that periodically injecting stem cells from the synovium into knee joints may delay cartilage degeneration.
The researchers began by injecting synovium stem cells into the knees of rats with osteoarthritis and found that the injections did delay the degeneration of the rat’s cartilage. The hope now is that these injections could provide osteoarthritis patients with relief from the often debilitating effects of the disease. PR Newswire quotes Ozeki as saying, "Stem cells can change their character according to the environments and produce a variety of growth factors. We previously revealed that stem cells from synovium have advantages for their high growth and cartilage differentiation abilities."
The goal of his research, he explained, is to provide patients with an alternative to surgery. "We want to improve patient's joint condition without surgical interventions and using stem cells is one possible alternative treatment, " he said.
In a continuation of his research, Ozeki and his team plan to try this therapy on more severe osteoarthritis models in which cartilage degeneration has already begun. "In the future, " Ozeki said, "we want to start a clinical trial to delay osteoarthritis progression.” Ozeki presented the results of his research at the Orthopaedic Research Society's 2013 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.