A single stem cell injection following meniscus knee surgery may provide pain relief and aid in meniscus regrowth, according to a novel study appearing in the January issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).
More than one million knee arthroscopy procedures are performed each year in the U.S. primarily for the treatment of tears to the meniscus - the wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as "shock absorbers" between the thighbone and shinbone in the knee joint.
In the first-of-its-kind study, "Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) Delivered via Intra-Articular Injection to the Knee, Following Partial Medial Meniscectomy," most patients who received a single injection of adult stem cells following the surgical removal of all or part of a torn meniscus, reported a significant reduction in pain. Some patients─24 percent of one MSC group and 6 percent of another─experienced at least a 15 percent increase in meniscal volume at one year. There was no additional increase in meniscal volume at year two.
"The results demonstrated that high doses of mesenchymal stem cells can be safely delivered in a concentrated manner to a knee joint without abnormal tissue formation," said lead study author C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr., MD. "No one has ever done that before." In addition, "the patients with arthritis got strong improvement in pain" and some experienced meniscal regrowth.
Specific Study Details