Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis
Stem cells can be delivered through injections directly into the arthritis joint.
When administering stem cell injections, many physicians use medical imaging, such as ultrasound, in order to deliver cells precisely to the site of cartilage damage.
The most common type of stem cells used for treating arthritis are mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are usually collected from the patient’s blood or bone marrow.
The process of collecting cells is often called harvesting.
Peripheral blood stem cells, found in the bloodstream, are harvested by taking a blood sample from the patient.
Bone marrow stem cells are harvested from one of the patient’s bones.
Bone marrow is usually taken from the pelvic bone using a needle and syringe, a process called bone marrow aspiration. The patient is given a local anesthetic and may also be given a sedative before the procedure.
There are no professional medical guidelines for who can and cannot receive stem cell therapy for arthritis. For now, the decision about who gets stem cell therapy is up to patients and doctors.