Faster Healing from Stem Cells and Other Methods

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Technology Review reported on the use of stem cells to enable faster healing of severe bone injuries

The new technique makes use of a thin tissue called the periosteum, which lines the outer surface of all bones and contains stem cells that develop into bone to repair damage. To repair major bone breaks, or repair serious defects, the researchers use the periosteum as a sleeve placed around a missing section of bone to encourage bone regrowth. For cases where there is not enough periosteum, the researchers have developed an artificial membrane as a substitute.

In the new procedure, carried out on the wheelchair patient, the researchers made a small vertical incision in the periosteum near to where a large piece of bone was missing after the leg had been lengthened. They then peeled the periosteum back, so that it remained attached to the blood vessels on the outside, and cut away a piece of bone beneath, which was then used to plug the large gap in the leg bone. The periosteum was sutured closed, forming a sleeve around the section from which the bone was removed. The gap was repaired by the transplanted segment of bone while cells from the sutured periosteum infiltrated the space below it and turned into new bone. The patient saw new bone growth one month after surgery. Knothe Tate says that such a defect would normally not heal without more serious surgery.

USA Today reported that athletes are embracing cutting-edge doctors, methods to speed recovery.

American Skier Casey Puckett overcame a Jan. 10 shoulder dislocation that required surgery with a combination of physical therapy, acupuncture and time in a hyperbaric chamber. Rahlves raced three weeks after dislocating a hip, thanks to sessions of physical therapy, magnetic pulse therapy, acupuncture and treatment with platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

The menu of treatment options for sports injuries has never been richer, as old staples such as anterior cruciate ligament and Tommy John surgeries have been joined by new alternatives such as PRP, minimally invasive sports hernia surgery, low-intensity laser therapy and prolotherapy.

A 2009 report on the status of Stem Cell Therapies

Researchers at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colo., recently have concluded a study on the effects of stem cells on cartilage regeneration

In another study, Wakitani et al studied the effectiveness of autologous cultured bone marrow MSC transplantation in nine full-thickness articular cartilage defects of the patello-femoral joints (including two kissing lesions) in the knees of three patients. Six months after transplantation, the patients’ clinical symptoms had improve and the improvements have been maintained over the followup periods (17-27 months).

MSC are stem cells from bone marrow. Cartilage repair using stem cells is going through clinical trials and seems on track to be a mainstream treatment in 5-10 years.

MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) can be used to enhance bone regeneration and union in cases of critical bone defect, non-union, physis regeneration in children and to improve bone quality in osteogenesis imperfecta.


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