Stem cell treatments for musculoskeletal conditions represent cutting edge treatments that are on the cusp of mainstream deployment. The ethical concerns over fetal involvement have been eliminated with the latest treatments that either use the patient’s own tissue elements (blood, adipose or bone marrow) or amnion collected from consenting donors after scheduled C-sections.
Stem cells maintain the capability of differentiating into various cell lines such as tendon, cartilage, muscle, skin, bone and more. All of the stem cell treatments offered at R3 either directly contain stem cells, or maintain the ability to call in the body’s existing stem cells for repair and regeneration of the damaged tissue.
When it comes to pain management, modern medicine is finally breaking through with regenerative medicine. Rather than dealing with pain from arthritis and soft tissue injuries solely with treatments designed to mask pain, new advancements are working on actually repairing the tissue damage.
Amniotic derived stem cell activator injections are relatively new in the field of regenerative medicine, but their role is becoming more prominent as their potential becomes apparent for musculoskeletal condition repair.
These types of stem cells are not new in medicine, having been used for decades in wound care and other specialties. But in the fields of orthopedics, pain management and rheumatology, amnion is turning out to have the potential for a holy grail type of treatment.
It turns out that amniotic fluid is heavily concentrated in growth factors, hyaluronic acid, antimicrobial components and stem cell activators that are able to work in a stranger’s body without producing an immunologic rejection response. Who knew?
What exactly are amniotic stem cells?
Stem cells are the most basic cells living in the human body. Their most amazing trait is that they can become many types of cell, from skin cells to muscle, from bone to cartilage. Amniotic stem cells are derived from amniotic fluid obtained during scheduled caesarean sections from consenting donors. Amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus during pregnancy, feeding it. Normally, this fluid is simply discarded. But with the amazing ingredients it contains, now it can be used for those in need.
Researchers have discovered that the amniotic fluid has an extremely high concentration of stem cells, even more than bone marrow in adults. When processed at an FDA regulated lab, the biologic material ends up containing significant regenerative properties, such as growth factors, hyaluronic acid and stem cell activators. Interestingly, amniotic fluid is actually immunopriviliged, so it does not create a rejection reaction when injected into a patient.
Obtaining stem cells from embryos is considered by many groups to be unethical, but obtaining stem cells and regenerative material from amniotic fluid is not affected by this ethical debate. Amniotic fluid is disposed of after
Can Stem Cells Regenerate Cartilage?
birth, so using it in order to obtain amniotic derived stem cell activator injections does not affect the embryo in any way.
There is no harm to the fetus and no blood from the fetus is used, only the amniotic fluid that would be discarded anyway.
Amniotic fluid contains multiple excellent properties for promoting tissue regeneration and repair:
- They have important anti-inflammatory propertiesincluding cytokines that help relieve pain. There is no steroid component to amniotic derived injections.
- The fluid contains growth factorswhich can help promote new tissue growth and also help to call in the body’s stem cells.
- Amniotic Fluid contains hyaluronic acid. This is also a prominent component of joint fluid, and is important for lubricating cartilage and promoting growth of new cartilage. Hyaluronic acid is the main component of viscosupplementation injections with Synvisc and Hyalgan medicines. They have been shown to provide excellent pain relief for upwards of six to twelve months.
- Amniotic Fluid is an amazing source of concentrated stem cell activators. Thankfully, the fluid does not cause an immune or rejection reaction when injected into a patient.
Amniotic membranes have been used extensively in plastic surgery for treating wounds that have been difficult to heal, as well as opthalmology for helping to heal corneal injury. Amniotic derived stem cell rich injections have been successfully used to promote spinal fusion during surgery, and as a scar barrier around the spinal cord.
Amniotic derived stem cell activator injections have been used over 10,000 times in the US with no reported adverse events, and hundreds of thousands of times in Europe and abroad. There are plenty of anecdotal reports regarding the use of amnion for treating tendinosis and tendinitis of the rotator cuff and elbow tendons. This includes both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. Results from these reports have been very promising.
Additionally, anecdotal reports on the use of amnion for joint arthritis in both the spine and extremities has also been encouraging. Surgeons have started using the amnion to supplement surgical repair and reconstruction of ACL’s, Achilles tendons and rotator cuff tendons.
Studies carried on so far show very promising results.
Recent research has focused on using human amniotic membranes for various indications. Surgical placement of amniotic tissue at
the site of laminectomy in canines helped reduce scar tissue significantly. (Tao 2009).
Amniotic fluid rich stem cell medicine offers regenerative potential, anti-inflammation, growth factors and hyaluronic acid.
In a human report, using a human amnion tissue patch after a right L4-5 decompression procedure significantly reduced both scar tissue formation and adherence to the underlying dura (Ploska, Applied Biologics 2012).
The study being performed at R3 involves painful arthritic spinal joints including facet and SI joints, and also extremity joints such as the hip, knee and shoulder.
Patients will be evaluated for 24 weeks after treatment with the amniotic derived stem cell injections looking at the amount of pain medication being used, functional abilities, overall health status, and
arthritis specific surveys. Monitoring the patients’ health is necessary so that pain management doctors get a better idea of how well the treatment works. For those interested in being included in one of the research studies, simply visit our CONTACT PAGE to let us know!
As already mentioned, amniotic stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties, which means that the therapy involving them is great for pain relief. However, unlike cortisone shots whose role is only to mask the pain, these injections are also treating the source of the pain. Since joint pains are caused by damaged cartilage, amniotic derived stem cell injections may potentially replace the damaged cells and help the body create new ones to grow healthy and strong.