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Embryonic Stem Cell Research in the Toilet, According to Arthritis Treatment Center

FREDERICK, Md., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent ruling by federal judge Royce C. Lamberth halting embryonic stem cell research may present a hurdle for some disease research but not necessarily for arthritis.  A key note presentation, entitled "Guided Mesenchymal Stem Cell Layering Technique for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee" will be made on November 9, 2010 at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease associated with the loss of cartilage, the gristle that caps the ends of long bones and which provides cushioning and shock absorption.  When cartilage wears away, the end result is reduced joint function, and possibly, disability.

According to lead author Dr. Nathan Wei, "Osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans, but our treatment options have been limited to symptom relief... No therapies solve the problem of cartilage loss."

He goes on to say, "Many people aren't aware that there are many different types of stem cells.  Embryonic cells are only one type.  Adult stem cells are readily accessible from bone marrow. Our study shows that adult stem cells may hold the key to successful cartilage regeneration. "

He adds, "We used a 'cocktail' mixture of adult stem cells, platelet rich plasma, better known as PRP, and fat.  The PRP stimulates stem cell growth and the fat provides a framework and bulk for the stem cells to hold onto."

In the study, 22 patients underwent stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee.  Data was available for 20 patients, ranging in age from 36 to 84 years.  There were 15 men and 5 women.  

Clinical assessments as well as ultrasound measurement of cartilage thickness were performed.

There were three treatment failures, defined as patients who did not improve above baseline.

Data was available at the time of abstract submission for 11 patients at 6 months and 8 patients at one year.  Significant improvements in clinical measures and cartilage thickness were demonstrated.

Dr. Wei cautions, "This was an uncontrolled study.  And, obviously further refinements of technique as well as many unanswered questions remain.  Further studies are warranted."

Dr. Wei is a board-certified rheumatologist and a regenerative medicine specialist who practices in Frederick, Maryland.

SOURCE Arthritis Treatment Center
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