Stems cells and arthritis

October 8, 2018

Stem cell therapies often come up in discussions of conditions that today have no cure.

One of the most commonly mentioned is arthritis, which actually is a catch-all term for a range of conditions affecting the joints. About 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States have arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and it’s the leading cause of disability in the country.

The problem with arthritis is that it’s caused by damage or loss of cartilage and other tissues that cushion the bones in the joints. Because cartilage doesn’t have its own blood supply, when it gets damaged, it has no way to receive healing agents like oxygen and nutrients from the bloodstream. Once cartilage is damaged, it typically stays damaged.

But that’s where stem cells can help. Given the right instructions, stem cells could be programmed to not only replace lost cartilage, but continue to manage the arthritic joint for the rest of the patient’s life.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health several years ago showed stem cells could develop into cartilage under the proper conditions. A second, larger study on tissue repair was conducted in 2016-17, but results aren’t yet available.

GenCure BioManufacturing works with stem cell researchers on clinical phase evaluations, clinical trials and commercialization of stem cell therapies.

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