Prof Paul Lee - MSK Regeneration Blog on MSK Doctors
What can cell therapy be used for in the Knee?
In the knee, typically cell therapy is used to treat a large cartilage defect. It is also possible to use cells to enhance meniscus repair.
The advantages of cell therapy
To understand why cell therapy is so exciting, we need to look at the limitations of current treatments. When you injure your knee badly, or when you develop a condition like osteoarthritis, there are two main treatment options. Firstly, we have steroids. Steroids are brilliant at reducing inflammation – your body’s natural reaction to injury – and relieving pain. However, they actually damage the cells in your knee, and over time your knee is likely to get worse. When steroids eventually run their course, the other treatment option is surgery – a knee replacement. It’s true that knee replacements are much better than they used to be. Techniques have improved dramatically over the last few years meaning the surgery is safer and more predictable. The latest generation of knee replacements can be 3D-printed to fit your knee, guided with incredible precision using robotic technology, and made from materials that last for 20 years. The problem is that 20 years is not a long time if you’ve injured yourself at a young age and you have another 60 or 80 years ahead of you.
We know that a biological solution is the only option that can stand the test of time. No matter how sophisticated surgery becomes, nothing is as tailor-made for our own body as the knee we already have. The best thing to do is to use our own body to heal ourselves – and that’s the ultimate promise of cell therapy.
The Regeneration Man
MBBch, MFSEM (UK), MSc (Sports Med), PhD (Med Engine), FEBOT, FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Consultant Sports and Arthroplasty Surgeon
MSK and Regeneration Medicine Doctor
Visiting Professor of Sports Medicine
I.C.R.S. teaching centre of excellence
Regional advisor Royal College of Surgeon Ed
Passionate about biology, engineering, computers and medicine.
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