By: Dr. Elton Gómez, Specialist in Regenerative Medicine
A more than demonstrated treatment for osteoarthritis of knees and wear of other joints is that which uses mesenchymal stem cells, this treatment is opening the way to treat more and more patients affected by this condition.
This problem begins with crackles or “thumping” in the knees, which over time add pain and physical limitation, the pain becomes so much that the patient goes from a cane to a walker, and sometimes from there to the use of a wheelchair, particularly obese patients, because overweight aggravates symptoms, this although it lessens pain, does not stop it completely, so the patient becomes dependent on analgesics, which in the medium and long term produce other health problems, triggering the phenomenon of polypharmacy, which is the problem of ingesting multiple medications, whose side effects add up.
Mesenchymal stem cells, not only have the ability to transform tissues but have the ability to direct and induce regeneration of the tissues where they are applied, due to the ability to produce certain substances that make the stimulus effect and this is particularly useful and valuable in cases of loss of cartilage due to joint wear, where progress is measurable by means of imaging studies, such as radiography or nuclear magnetic resonance.
They are also applied systemically to recover the immune system, which is also affected in these patients.
These cells act and exert their function by forming inside them and expelling microvesicles called “exosomes”, these contain the necessary signaling information to perform their functions of tissue regeneration. Another perfectly viable treatment strategy is to separate the exosomes of mesenchymal stem cells and apply them in the affected area, or systemically through an intravenous application so that they can regenerate damaged or injured tissues.
Coming back to the topic of knee joints, prosthetic surgery or joint replacement, is an invasive procedure, and although the rate of complications is not so great, it is always a good idea to try other procedures and exhaust the possibilities before performing surgery.
Applications in medicine with stem cells go far beyond their use in orthopedics, (joints) there are also multiple trials, where they are intended to be used for other diseases.