Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

Conservative therapy for arthritis is usually the treatment of separate symptoms that consist of non-steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as heavy painkillers that have side effects and do not always bring relief. These drugs may just reduce pain and temporarily eliminate inflammation in the joints, but they do not assist in the recovery of the affected tissues as effectively as stem cell therapy for arthritis can do. 

In this article, you will learn what stem cells and arthritis are, what effects can be expected of stem cell treatment for arthritis, how it works, and how it is performed. Finally, we will discuss the recovery process and whether, after stem cell therapy, arthritis resolves. You will also learn about the experiences of previous patients who underwent our cell therapy.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease of the musculoskeletal system that mostly affects one’s joints. In the early stages, the patient suffers from pain, difficulty walking, and limitations on usual activities. The progression of this disease leads to a worsening of quality of life and, in the long term, can potentially result in further disabilities.

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
A young woman with arthritis

What Are the Advantages of Stem Cell for Arthritis?

Advantages of stem cell therapy for arthritis include:

  • Regeneration of damaged tissues, potential restoration of joint function, and reducing pain.
  • Modulation of the immune system and reduction of chronic inflammation.
  • Stem cell injections for arthritis are less invasive, reducing the risk of complications and shortening recovery times.
  • Stem cells for cartilage could significantly improve one’s quality of life by decreasing pain and enhancing joint mobility​​.
  • Stem cell therapy for arthritis can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient.
  • The use of stem cells for bone-on-bone knees has shown promising results in addressing severe osteoarthritis and joint degeneration.

What Is the Source of Stem Cells for Arthritis Treatment?

Stem cells can be derived from several sources, including adipose tissue, bone marrow, and umbilical cord blood. The choice of source depends on various factors, including the condition being treated and the patient’s overall health.

In the case of autologous cell products, MMCSs are derived from the patient’s own adipose tissue or bone marrow. MMSCs derived from adipose tissue have the highest chondrogenic potential. Harvesting from a patient’s fat is also a less invasive procedure. It is also possible to get stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow.

For the effect to be maximized, the doctor decides on the source of the cells, depending on the patient’s condition and the expected efficiency of the cells.

If there are any contraindications for the use of a patient’s own cells for therapy (autologous cell harvesting) or if the therapy needs to start right away, we use allogeneic cell products from healthy donors, which have a greater potential for therapy. It is known that the properties of this type of cell are almost the same regardless of whether they are derived from the patient or a donor.

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Contact us to learn about the expected results of the treatment, its cost and duration.

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

What Is the Stem Cells Treatment Program for Arthritis?

The stem cell treatment program typically involves:

1. Consultation and assessment to determine suitability

The first step in the stem cell therapy arthritis treatment program will usually involve a thorough consultation and assessment. 

2. Harvesting stem cells

Once a patient is confirmed to be a good candidate for the treatment, the next step is the harvesting of stem cells. They are typically extracted from a person’s own body, which ensures a reduced risk of rejection and further complications. This step is pivotal as it provides the raw material—the stem cells—needed for the subsequent stages of the treatment.

3. Processing and concentrating the stem cells

After harvesting, the stem cells undergo processing and concentration in a specialized laboratory. Advanced techniques are employed to ensure the viability and purity of the stem cells, preparing them for stem cell injections for arthritis. 

There is also an option of using donor cells—they are ready as soon as the patient arrives at the clinic, meaning there is no time lost on processing and cultivating the cells. Whether it’s best to use autologous (own) cells or donor ones is up for discussion with your doctor at the clinic.

4. Re-injecting the stem cells into the affected joints

The final step in the stem cell treatment program for arthritis involves re-injecting the processed and concentrated stem cells directly into the affected joints. By delivering the stem cells directly to the damaged tissues, this approach maximizes the potential for tissue regeneration and healing.

Is Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis Safe and Effective?

While stem cell therapy offers a promising avenue for arthritis treatment and can be said to be safe and effective, it’s essential to acknowledge that research is ongoing. 
The effectiveness of stem cell therapy for arthritis depends on the patient’s condition, the number of treatments, and several other factors. Nevertheless, most treatments, including those focusing on stem cells for arthritic knees and stem cells for shoulder arthritis, suggest a favorable safety profile and potential for symptom improvement​​. Many studies suggest that following stem cell therapy, arthritis symptoms may improve or resolve, leading to enhanced joint function and reduced pain.

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Pain in the knee due to arthritis.

Stem cell therapy for arthritis represents a cutting-edge treatment option. Its appeal lies in the therapy’s ability to utilize the body’s regenerative capabilities to repair damaged tissues within the joints, offering an alternative route to alleviating pain and improving joint function. 

Recommendation for the Post-Treatment Period of Arthritis

When stem cells are introduced to the patient’s body, improvements gradually accumulate over the next several months. During this period, the patient will generally feel a surge of strength as the inflammation decreases and the pain goes away. The volume of physical activity they can engage in will also increase. 

Symptoms may decrease or even reverse, which is possible only with stem cell therapy. Post-treatment care is vital for maximizing the benefits of stem cell therapy for arthritis. Nevertheless, various components of stem cell research for arthritis are still ongoing.

What Results Can Be Achieved Through the Use of Stem Cell Products?

When introduced to the patient’s body, MMSCs actively produce growth and anti-inflammatory factors through the secretion of special protein molecules. These molecules can:

  • Relieve inflammation, so the pain and the swelling pass or become less pronounced.
  • Stimulate the growth of capillary networks, which helps to improve the condition of cartilage tissue.

This helps reduce the symptoms and causes of remission, improves the mobility of the affected joints, and eliminates discomfort when moving, raising both the patient’s health and overall quality of life.

Here Is What Our Patients Report About the Treatment

Let’s consider some reviews from our patients, who have already undergone the treatment:

“I have had pretty bad chronic knee pain in both knees, and it’s gotten worse over the last few years. I had arthroscopies on both knees, and that helped me for a little while, but then it got worse. I needed to get 2 knee replacements. My friend told me about a good experience using stem cell treatment, and then I contacted Swiss Medica. I was very nervous and afraid when I arrived. I had stem cell treatment and passed some physiotherapy, and already my knees are a lot better.”

Roger S., from the United Kingdom

Stem Cell Treatment for Arthritic Knees

“I’m 59, and within the span of the last few years, I had 3 cartilage surgeries because of the problems with my knees. After the last surgery, I was told that there was no cartilage left, so I had to get a knee replacement soon. I had problems with walking; I couldn’t fully bend my knees, and it was always painful. I was receiving stem cells taken from my pelvis and from my fat tissue. I also passed physiotherapy. Initially, I had a lot better movement in my knees, and walking upstairs is not painful now, and the swelling has gone. It feels like 70-80% better.”

– Margery, Patient from Manchester, England

Why Do We Use Stem Cells?

Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells have the unique ability to transform into other cells in tissues (i.e., differentiate) and can also reproduce themselves. The special value of stem cell therapy is in its capacity to stimulate joint regeneration and restoration by stimulating the growth of the cells in the damaged area and regenerating the tissue.

When stem cell injections for arthritis are administered directly into the affected joint, they improve its tissue, normalize metabolism, and improve local trophicity, which leads to a reduction of inflammation and recovery of joint mobility.

If possible, it is best to start this treatment early on, before irreversible deformation of the joint has happened. According to stem cell research on arthritis, early repair of cartilage lesions slows down the progression of osteoarthritis.

Additional Treatments for Arthritis That Help Increase the Effect of Stem Cells

In addition to stem cell injections for arthritis, we also employ methods that result in a higher recovery rate.

A Swiss Medica traumatologist prepares a daily joint treatment program. This is a special set of exercises, accompanied by additional treatment methods. Together these work to relieve pain and improve the functioning of the affected joint. Some examples of additional recommendations by one of our professionals include:

Cost of Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

The cost can vary widely depending on the treatment’s complexity, the number of injections required, and the geographic location, but will generally be around  €7,000 and €25,000. Consult with healthcare providers to get an accurate estimate tailored to your specific needs.

Words of Advice 

Stem cell therapy for arthritis represents a cutting-edge approach that offers hope for relief and regeneration. As stem cell research on arthritis continues to advance, this treatment may become a cornerstone in the fight against arthritis, offering patients a chance at a more active and pain-free life.

Contact us

You can contact our Medical Advisor to find out about the expected results of stem cell treatment according to your case, its cost, duration, and some other details.

Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

List of References

  1. Augello, A., Tasso, R., Negrini, S. M., Cancedda, R., & Pennesi, G. (2007). Cell therapy using allogeneic bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells prevents tissue damage in collagen-induced arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 56(4), 1175-1186. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.22511

  2. Davatchi F, Sadeghi Abdollahi B, Mohyeddin M, Nikbin B. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis: 5 years follow-up of three patients. Int J Rheum Dis. 2016 Mar;19(3):219-25. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12670. Epub 2015 May 20. PMID: 25990685.

  3. Huang R, Li W, Zhao Y, Yang F, Xu M. Clinical efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Mar;99(11):e19434. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000019434. PMID: 32176071; PMCID: PMC7220405.

  4. Shariatzadeh, M., Song, J. & Wilson, S. The efficacy of different sources of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Cell Tissue Res 378, 399–410 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-019-03069-9

  5. Chen, F.H., Tuan, R.S. Mesenchymal stem cells in arthritic diseases. Arthritis Res Ther 10, 223 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/ar2514

  6. J.F. Swart, N.M. Wulffraat, Mesenchymal stromal cells for treatment of arthritis, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, Volume 28, Issue 4, 2014, Pages 589-603, ISSN 1521-6942, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.berh.2014.10.023.

More sources

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

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