Stem Cells and Arthritis

Stem cells are different from all other cells of the body that have the property of renewing itself. These are mother cells and are capable of becoming like any other cell of the body such as blood cells, cells of the heart, skin cells, bone cells and muscle cells etc. Sources of these cells are different but every stem cell has the potential to develop into multiple cells.

Arthritis means inflammation of joints and is categorized as degenerative. Arthritis can influence the people of any age group but the worst hit can be over the age of sixty. Basic symptoms of this disease are stiffness, swelling, chronic pain in bones, joints, and muscles. There are several conditions which may lead to arthritis but most common types of arthritis are:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: is an autoimmune disease i.e. attack of the immune system on organs of the body. In this type of arthritis, the attack is especially on the lining of joints which directly causes inflammation. It can result in joint damage if not treated on time. Symptoms are pain, stiffness and swelling in all joints of the body.

Osteoarthritis: affects foot, knees, hips and spine because these joints bear the weight of the body. The reason is overused joints, as it usually happens with age. Cartilage gets damaged and movement becomes painful. Symptoms are stiffness, painful walk, deep pain, difficulties in hair combing, bending, stairs climbing and gripping.

Psoriatic Arthritis: includes joints and skin inflammation. Mostly affects skin of genital area, scalp, tips of knees and elbows. Symptoms are discolored fingernails, swollen toes, and fingers.

Arthritis can be treated by stem cells

Stem cells possess regenerative and natural anti-inflammatory properties. There are some remarkable features of stem cells which assure researchers that stem cell therapies can be helpful to cure arthritis at a great extent. Stem cells have following capacities:

  • Tissue repair and cartilage formation
  • Disseminate transplanted stem cells
  • Trigger formation of blood vessel
  • Prevent inflammation
  • Humidify and modulate the response of immune system

A recent study proves that Mesenchymal Stem Cells have the capability to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines for a long time without any side effect. It shows that Mesenchymal Stem Cells harvested from umbilical cord just after the birth can significantly treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells can treat Osteoarthritis by forming cartilage cells. These cells are multi-potent and can differentiate into chondrytes i.e. cartilage. So basically stem cells are injected into joints to form new cartilage cells. Stem Cell therapy is a non surgical method of treatment in which your own stem cells are used. This treatment is performed with the risk of minimal side effects. There may be minor swelling, headache, fever or redness at procedure site which may remain for maximum 24 hours. These minor side effects are not necessary as the treatment may result in no side effects as well.

Stem cells are highly capable to create chondrytes which forms cartilage, so it perfectly makes sense that Stem cells successfully help arthritis patients. Even the Stem cell therapy is yet not approved by FDA but still many people are trying this treatment. Till now no side effects or complaints are there regarding stem cell treatment.