Can fat stem cells help bone inside a bad arthritic knee? Fat stem cells have exploded in use this past several years, with now hundreds of clinics around the US where you can find these procedures being used to treat arthritis. While fat stem cells have some amazing anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to be a God send for patients with chronic neuro-inflammatory diseases like MS, they have been less convincing in their effects on orthopedic problems like arthritis. I’ve blogged before that there is very little animal or human evidence that fat stem cells are the way to go to treat arthritis. Now a new study just published continues to add to this data set and gives us more information about the fat stem cells knee repair potential. For orthopedic injuries, one of the things that you want fat stem cells to accomplish is healing or turning into bone tissue. Many severe arthritis patients need bone as well as cartilage and other diseases like non-healing fractures and osteonecrosis would benefit greatly from stem cells that could help repair or become bone. In this study, the investigators took both bone marrow and fat stem cells and gave them a stimulus to turn into bone. While they got bone progenitor cells and bone formation out of bone marrow stem cells, they were unable to get the same thing to happen with the fat stem cells. In essence, they couldn’t get the fat stem cells to produce bone without some very heavy handed tricks. The upshot? All of this is consistent with many other studies out there. In the world of cell therapy, the tail wagging the dog happens when physicians experienced in liposuction use fat stem cells to treat arthritis because that’s the weekend course they took, not because they are the best cell for the job!
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…