Degenerative joint diseases (osteoarthritis)
Ensure the healthy future
Weakness and fatigue disappear.
Joint pain disappears.
It is possible to lead a familiar lifestyle.
Increased range of motion to the highest possible level.
Improved grip power.
Stem cell-based therapies for osteoarthritis: Challenges and opportunities
Articular cartilage exhibits little or no ability for self-repair, resulting in progressive tissue loss and dysfunction following isolated cartilage injuries. The lack of effective repair also contributes to the widespread degeneration of the joint associated with osteoarthritis (OA). Stem cells have extraordinary potential to contribute to novel treatment strategies for both clinical situations. For the repair of chondral or osteochondral defects, stem cells may be able to provide an abundant cell source, preventing the iatrogenic damage associated with the invasive isolation of chondrocytes used in autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) strategies. Additionally, the continued development of tissue engineering strategies has sought to combine stem cells with various scaffolds and chondrogenic signals (e.g., growth factors, bioreactors) to produce a functional tissue that could be used to repair focal cartilage defects. However, new challenges arise when transitioning such therapies from filling a small defect in an otherwise healthy cartilage surface to treating a severely degraded osteoarthritic joint. This recognition is important for aligning research goals with societal need, as the clinical impact of generalized cartilage degradation with OA far surpasses that associated with focal cartilage defects .
As the most common form of joint disorder, osteoarthritis (OA) imposes a tremendous burden on health care systems worldwide. Without effective cure, OA represents a unique opportunity for innovation in therapeutic development. In contrast to traditional treatments based on drugs, proteins, or antibodies, stem cells are poised to revolutionize medicine as they possess the capacity to replace and repair tissues and organs such as osteoarthritic joints. Among different types of stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of mesoderm origin and have been shown to generate cells for tissues of the mesoderm lineage, thus, raising the hope for them being used to treat diseases such as OA. However, given their ability to differentiate into other cell types, MSCs have also been tested in treating a myriad of conditions from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, apparently of the ectoderm and endoderm lineages. There are ongoing debates whether MSCs can differentiate into lineages outside of the mesoderm and consequently their effectiveness in treating conditions from the ectoderm and endoderm lineages. In this review, we discuss the developmental origin of MSCs, their differentiation potential and immunomodulatory effects, as well as their applications in treating OA. We suggest further investigations into new therapies or combination therapies that may provide more effective treatment for bone and joint diseases. Furthermore, cell-based therapy and its associated safety and effectiveness should be carefully evaluated before clinical translation. This review provides updated information on recent approval of clinical trials and related applications of MSCs, and discusses additional efforts on cell-based therapy for treating OA and other joint and bone diseases.