Knee Osteoarthritis Adipose Stem Cell Therapy

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common health issues in modern society

Knee osteoarthritis has become one of the most common diseases in society due to population aging. Joint pain, stiffness, inflexibility, and swelling are the main symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. As the severity increases, joint deformation may occur and leg length discrepancy (LLD) may even appear, which will seriously affect the patient's quality of life and increase the risk of falls and fractures.

Potential medical applications of stem cells

The human body is composed of hundreds of different types of cells. These cells are responsible for the normal daily operation of our body, such as the liver's metabolism processes, the muscles' movements, the brain's ability to think, etc. However, these cells will age, and the job of stem cells is to be responsible for the metabolism of these different cells and to replace the old cells with the new cells.

Simply put, stem cells are a source of new cells. When stem cells divide and differentiate, they will produce new cells to replace aging or diseased cells.Because stem cells have the function of repairing and replacing diseased or old cells, with the advancement of stem cell-related research in recent decades, stem cells have become another possible way to treat diseases.

The ability of stem cells to repair themselves can be used to restore patients’ health. For example: Applications of stem cell transplantation technology in patients with heart disease allows the transplanted stem cells to repair the damaged heart and restore the normal function of the patient’s heart. This treatment has been confirmed to be effective in animal experiments and some clinical trials.

Clinical application of adipose stem cells

Human adipose tissue is mainly composed of mature adipocytes. In addition, there is a type of cells in adipose tissue called "adipose stem cells", which have the pluripotent differentiation potential.Adipose stem cells can differentiate into different cells such as fat, bone, cartilage, muscle, and vascular endothelium. In addition, adipose stem cells also have the ability to secrete a variety of growth factors and cytokines, and these factors have the function of promoting tissue repair and immune regulation. Since fat is easy to obtain in large quantities, it has become an indispensable key point in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications, and it is also the best source of cells in stem cell therapy technology.

Department of Orthopedics of Linkou Chang Gung is the first to clinically apply stem cells in arthritis

The Department of Orthopedics of Linkou Chang Gung has been engaged in stem cell-related research since 2004. The main research team is primarily composed of a research team led by Professor Chang. After years of research, the research team started to introduce stem cell therapy technology into clinical applications in 2015 and have obtained good results. The technology has been widely used in knee osteoarthritis of varying levels of severity.

The medical team emphasized that cell therapy is not a panacea. The treatment efficacy will vary depending on the degree of degeneration caused by arthritis and the individual differences in cell function of each patient. Cell therapy is just another treatment option in addition to conventional treatment, and the treatment offers a ray of hope for knee arthritis patients. 

Treatment of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is treated through suitable exercises and training of muscle strength around the joints. Additionally, other common treatments of arthritis are available depending on its severity, including the use of anti-inflammatory analgesics, intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid, and injections of autologous platelet-rich plasma into the joint cavity.

However, these commonly used treatments have problems, such as unsatisfactory efficacy or potential risks. For example, long-term use of anti-inflammatory analgesics and painkillers may lead to the risk of impaired gastrointestinal and kidney function. The therapeutic effect of hyaluronic acid or autologous platelet-rich plasma varies from person to person.