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Stem Cell Therapy Following Knee Surgery May Reduce Pain, Restore Meniscus

First study of its kind assesses knee injection (January 16)

A single stem cell injection following meniscus knee surgery may provide pain relief and aid meniscus regrowth, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

The study — the first of its kind — involved 55 patients, 18 to 60 years old, who underwent a partial medial meniscectomy. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Group A (n = 18) received a “low-dose” injection of 50 million stem cells within 7 to 10 days after meniscus surgery; Group B (n = 18) received a higher dose of 100 million stem cells; and Group C (n = 19), the control group, received only sodium hyaluronate. The patients were assessed for safety, meniscus regeneration, overall condition of the knee joint, and clinical outcomes through 2 years.

The study’s key findings included:

  • No abnormal (ectopic) tissue formation or clinically important safety issues were identified.
  • A significant increase in meniscal volume, as determined by magnetic resonance imaging, was observed in 24% of the low-dose injection group and in 6% of the high-dose injection group at 1 year. There was no statistical increase in meniscal volume at 2 years.
  • No patients in the control group met the 15% threshold for increased meniscal volume.
  • Patients with osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in pain in both stem-cell treatment groups; there was no reduction in pain in the control group.

Source: AAOS; January 16, 2013.

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