Article written by: Michael Shell, DO, Medical Director, 5280 Stem Cell
I am frequently asked by patients what else can be done to treat my knee pain if I am not a candidate for a bone marrow stem cell treatment?
Stem cells taken from a patient’s own bone marrow are the only FDA approved source of stem cells. One form of stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells can make multiple copies of itself or change and make copies of different cells such as bone cells, cartilage cells, muscle cells, and fat cells. Unfortunately, aging affects the properties of the mesenchymal cells resulting in deterioration with age, and a decrease in its ability to grow, develop and heal injured or diseased tissue.
5280 Stem Cell recommends using a combination of PRP and A2M as an alternative treatment to bone marrow stem cell therapy for knee pain in the elderly population.
There are two pieces of cartilage in the knee called meniscus. The meniscus acts like shock absorbers to cushion the joint. Fluid in the knee lubricates the cartilage and reduces friction. Through “wear and tear” or trauma the cartilage gradually wears away. The cartilage may become torn or frayed and rough. Eventually, bone spurs can develop and the bone rubs on bone. The knee joints contain certain enzymes or proteinases that function to break-down cartilage. The break-down of cartilage in the knee joint results in inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness. A specific proteinase called Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) is well known to break down cartilage in a joint causing osteoarthritis. Alpha 2 Macroglobulin is a naturally occurring protein found in the blood plasma. A2M stops MMPs from breaking down the cartilage; thus, reducing the inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a high concentration of platelet cells in the plasma, which is collected from a patient’s own blood. PRP contains growth factors and other cells capable of repairing, replacing, or reconstructing diseased or injured tissue inside the knee joint. PRP has an anti-inflammatory and reparative effect on cartilage, tendon, and ligament to heal naturally.
The combination of A2M and PRP works by two methods. The A2M component stops the proteinases (MMPs) that start the degeneration of the cartilage. PRP component helps to promote the healing of the damaged cartilage, tendon, and ligaments. It typically takes two to three injections over several months’ time frame to treat the pain, inflammation, swelling, and stiffness that results in painful knees.
The board-certified physicians at 5280 Stem Cell have the necessary surgical training and experience to recommend the appropriate treatment option for your pain condition.
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