Stem cell transplantation has been found to be an effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis (KOA), with different types of stem cells providing pain relief and restoring function, according to a recent review published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research. The meta-analysis, conducted by researchers from Jiujiang First People’s Hospital in China, analyzed 16 studies involving 875 KOA patients.
The findings showed that stem cell therapy resulted in a significant reduction in visual analog scale scores, indicating a decrease in pain, starting from the third month post-treatment. Adipose-derived and umbilical cord-derived stem cells were found to be the most effective in providing pain relief at different time points after the procedure. The researchers also noted that autologous tissue, compared to allogeneic tissue, was associated with better pain alleviation. However, no difference in pain relief was observed between autologous and allogeneic bone marrow stem cells. Combination therapy using hyaluronic acid and/or platelet-rich plasma did not show any increased pain relief. Autologous adipose-derived stem cells demonstrated the most effective recovery of knee joint function. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score assessment did not show any significant difference between the stem cell group and the control group.
The authors concluded that these results reaffirm the potential of mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in treating KOA. This research provides insights into the various types of stem cell treatments available for KOA, highlighting their varying effectiveness in pain management and functional improvement. These findings may pave the way for further advancements in stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis, potentially offering new treatment options for patients with this debilitating condition.