Scientists study stem cells as a way to prevent injury-related arthritis

August 13, 2012

Topic: Orthopaedics

Researchers are finding a way to use stem cells to prevent injury-associated arthritis.

Researchers from Duke University are developing techniques to use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a treatment to prevent the development of post-traumatic arthritis (PTA). This work may lead to more effective medicine for orthopaedics issues that are the result of injury.

MSCs are bone marrow cells that do not become a part of the circulating blood. In order to investigate MSCs' effects on injuries in lab animals, a team of scientists conducted experiments using two types of these cells: one came from ordinary mice, while the other came from a breed of mice that healed unusually quick.

After applying these cells to bone fractures that would typically lead to PTA in mice, the researchers observed that there were no differences in how effectively both types of MSCs were able to prevent PTA.

"The stem cells changed the levels of certain immune factors, called cytokines, and altered the bone healing response," said researcher Brian Diekman, Ph.D.

This research is part of a growing body of literature on the use of stem cells in orthopaedic medicine. Scientists from the Andrews Institute are developing innovative stem cell techniques in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other medical authorities.

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