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Stem cells and other innovative intra-articular therapies for osteoarthritis: what does the future hold?

Jasvinder A Singh

Author Affiliations

Medicine Service, Birmingham VA Medical Center and Department of Medicine, University of Alabama, Faculty Office Tower 805B, 510 20th Street S, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA

Center for Surgical Medical Acute care Research and Transitions (C-SMART), Birmingham VA Medical Center, Birmingham, AL, USA

Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:44  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-44

Published: 2 May 2012


Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common type of arthritis in the world, is associated with suffering due to pain, productivity loss, decreased mobility and quality of life. Systemic therapies available for OA are mostly symptom modifying and have potential gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic, and cardiac side effects. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders recently published a study showing evidence of reparative effects demonstrated by homing of intra-articularly injected autologous bone marrow stem cells in damaged cartilage in an animal model of OA, along with clinical and radiographic benefit. This finding adds to the growing literature showing the potential benefit of intra-articular (IA) bone marrow stem cells. Other emerging potential IA therapies include IL-1 receptor antagonists, conditioned autologous serum, botulinum toxin, and bone morphogenetic protein-7. For each of these therapies, trial data in humans have been published, but more studies are needed to establish that they are safe and effective. Several additional promising new OA treatments are on the horizon, but challenges remain to finding safe and effective local and systemic therapies for OA.

Please see related article: webcite

osteoarthritis; intra-articular; novel; treatment; gene therapy; stem cell