Arthritis, also known as joint swelling, is a common condition that affects people over the age of 50, with the knee joint being the most commonly affected because it bears the weight of the body. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, which means that the joint wears out and doesn't function well, especially in children, because the soft tissues around the joint are damaged and eventually the bone is affected, resulting in pain, swelling, difficulty moving, and other symptoms.
Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher at StemRx Bioscience Solutions Pvt Ltd in Navi Mumbai, told HT Lifestyle, "We have seen many advertisements of oils, pain killers, heating/cooling pads, and so on, which claim to reduce joint pain and help with walking." It is important to understand that these treatments can only help temporarily and do not work internally. In advanced cases, joint replacement is the only option—however, its success is dependent on a variety of factors such as the patient's weight, the presence of other diseases, and so on. Furthermore, there is a risk of infection and, in rare cases, displacement or fracture of the prosthetic joint."
The need of the hour is a therapy that can slow the wear and tear of tissues, thereby delaying the progression of the condition. Dr. Mahajan proposed cell-based therapy for a variety of conditions, in which cells and growth factors derived from the patient's own body are used to regenerate tissues.
"The underlying principle of cell-based therapy is that our bodies have internal healing mechanisms." Disease has little effect on stem cells because they are the most basic cells in the body. Their numbers may decrease as they age, which is why natural healing processes slow down. As a result, we obtain cells and growth factors from another part of the body (bone marrow, which is a stem cell factory) and transplant them into the affected area. "The key is to provide a pool of healthy cells in the desired region at the right time and let the body heal itself," Dr. Mahajan explains.
Patients with osteoarthritis can benefit from cell-based therapy because the cells reduce inflammation/swelling in the joint. As the cells and growth factors (which act as nutrient sources for the cells as well as performing other functions) remove the damaged tissue and regenerate new tissues, their movements become more free. Through cell-based therapy, joint replacement surgery can be avoided or at least postponed, preserving natural function and mobility.