Stem cells promising in post-injury arthritis

August 13th, 2012 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 13 (IANS) Researchers may have found a promising stem cell therapy to prevent osteoarthritis (painful and stiff joints) after a joint injury.

Injuring a joint greatly raises the odds of getting a form of osteoarthritis called post-traumatic arthritis, or PTA. There are no therapies yet that modify or slow the progression of arthritis after injury.

Duke University Health System researchers have found a very promising therapeutic approach to PTA using a type of stem cell, called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), in mice with fractures that typically would lead to them developing arthritis, the journal Cell Transplantation reports.

Their findings could lead to a therapy that would be used after joint injury and before signs of significant osteoarthritis, according to a Duke University statement.

The scientists thought the stem cells would work to prevent PTA by altering the balance of inflammation and regeneration in knee joints, because these stem cells have beneficial properties in other regions of the body.

“The stem cells were able to prevent post-traumatic arthritis,” said Farshid Guilak, director of orthopaedic research at Duke and senior study author.

The researchers also thought that a type of mice bred for their super-healing properties would probably fare better than typical mice, but they were wrong.

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