Stem Cell Treatment Might Help Arthritis Patients

As most of us have heard that stem cell treatment might help treat many diseases. This time, stem cell therapy has shown positive results in treating patients with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the wearing down of protective tissues at the ends of bones leading joint pains in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips.

Doctors had used stem cell therapy as early as 2008 among athletes by simply injecting stem cells directly into the affected area. But this method has never been shown to have benefits. In 2014, the study has made several major advances. Scientists used stem cells from fat to grow a cartilage on an external woven scaffold shaped like the ball of a hip joint. This new cartilage is in hope to replace the damaged tissues at the hip area.

Although this study has not performed on humans yet, but it is tested in animals now. Scientists are in hope to test in humans within three to five years. If the study is successful, less and less patients would have to suffer from joint pains.

“Tattoo” Stem Cells Might Aid Research Process

We all know what’s a tattoo and what’s a stem cell. But what is a tattoo stem cell? According to Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng, a biomedical engineer, tattoo stem cells are created when stem cells are being “inked” by a green colored mixture. Okay… so how can this aid the researchers? This is when things get interesting.

“You can’t overcome hurdles without seeing the cells…” said Cheng. Before this new tattoo stem cells development, researchers had to do surgery to get a glimpse of the cell’s activities in the animal’s body. But now with the “inked” stem cells, researchers can now see what is going on with the stem cells once they get injected into the animal’s body. This allows them to track and monitor the stem cells non-invasively under MRI, and more easily determine if new cells are being developed.

Right now researchers have only tested on rats and later pigs. They hope to get this tested on humans soon and hope that this new development will benefit stem cell research in many ways.