Osteoarthritis, which is also referred to as the degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is a painful disease. In it, a group of mechanical abnormalities occurs that involves the degradation of joints, which includes not only the articular cartilage but also subchondral bone. As the bone surfaces become less protected by cartilage, it further exposes the bone to damage.
To treat this disease, stem cell treatments have been found to be quite promising. When tested on animals, they induced profound healing activity in various forms of arthritis.
To treat osteoarthritis, allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells are used, which are adult stem cells and not the foetal or the embryonic ones. These stem cells need to be harvested from human umbilical cords that are available after normal, healthy births.
If the family agrees to donate the umbilical cord then the mother is tested for various infectious diseases and also gets her complete medical history screened. Only if everything is found to be in order, the stem cells are harvested from that umbilical cord.
The basic advantage of using Human Umbilical Cord Tissue (HUCT)-derived mesenchymal stem cells is that the body’s immune system is not able to recognize it as foreign. Thus, the chances of rejection by the patient’s body are nil.
The stem cells that are harvested are administered by any licensed physician into the affected joint(s) of the patients. The procedure is done either intravenously (IV) or through intra-articular injection. In some specific circumstances, the stem cells are also administered intramuscularly or intrathecally.
This treatment of osteoarthritis using HUCT derived mesenchymal stem cells takes about 4 days. On the very first day, the patient’s medical history is evaluated and some blood tests are done. Then the physician injects 1 – 2 Intra-articular injections as per the requirement of the patient followed by few intravenous injections (IV) of HUCT mesenchymal stem cells.
Post this treatment, patients require regular follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.