Osteoarthritis is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation, cartilage breakdown, synovitis, and bone remodeling which leads to joint dysfunction and tissue destruction. Chronic joint inflammation, defined as an excessive amount of pro-inflammatory proteins in the joint (synovial) fluid, activates enzymes that cleave the collagen and aggrecan in the cartilage matrix, causing it to destablize and break down. Advanced Cellular Therapy (ACT) is a procedure which uses the body’s own biologic mechanisms to slow down the inflammation process and to improve pain and function.
This breakthrough technology involves harvesting cells from one part of the body and transplanting them to another. At Reflex, we take cells from adipose (fat) tissue, mix those cells with PRP, and transplant them into the knee(s).
The human body is made of trillions of cells. Each hour, billions of these cells die and must be replaced. Undifferentiated (or not fully programmed) stem cells are the source of this healing – they are how our bodies continually repair themselves.
Because of their regenerative capabilities, these undifferentiated stem cells have the potential to significantly shift the balance in a degenerative condition and slow progression of disease. For those suffering from knee osteoarthritis, this is important since stem cells have the potential to differentiate into cartilage cells. Stem cell therapy capitalizes on this quality of undifferentiated cells to initiate restorative activities and, in some reported cases, actually produce new cartilage in an osteoarthritic knee.
For years now, advanced cell therapy has generated growing interest in the medical community, as a way to counter disease and degeneration. It has been brought into the spotlight by professional athletes like Peyton Manning (football), Bartolo Colon (baseball), Rafael Nadal (tennis), and more – all of whom sought advanced cell therapy to relieve pain and boost performance.
But thanks to recent developments in stem cell research, the benefits of the procedure can span far beyond professional sports. Historically, it was believed that stem cells were most highly concentrated in bone marrow, and drilling into bone (usually the pelvis) was required to harvest the cells. This is invasive and can cause considerable pain. In recent years it has been discovered that adipose (fat) tissue has more than 500 times the concentration of adult stem cells than bone marrow. Harvesting the cells from adipose tissue is less painful and has fewer complications.
Although still considered experimental by the FDA, advanced cell therapy has increasingly been used as a practical treatment for any individuals suffering from knee pain – whether from age, overuse, or a previous injury. Read about how Advanced Cell Transplantation has helped a prior Reflex provider, Dr. Lawson.
Advanced cell therapy is a relatively non-invasive procedure performed right at the Reflex clinic, and there is relatively little downtime when compared to knee surgery.
The Autologous Adipose-Derived Cell Transplantation (AADCT) procedure involves harvesting stem in a mini-liposuction procedure called ‘lipoaspiration,’ during which adipose is removed from the abdominal wall, thighs or flank area using a harvesting cannula. The cells are then isolated, concentrated, and combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This biologic mixture is then injected into the affected knee(s) using Ultrasound guidance. The entire procedure takes about 2 hours to complete.
This blend of autologous adipose cells, platelets, and growth factors provides an advanced means to provide clinical improvement – helping patients get back to life.
What can I expect with Advanced Cellular Therapy?
Most of our patients report significant relief of knee pain, increased mobility, and much longer-term effects than other therapies. Not to mention – since it uses cells that come from a patient’s own body – the treatment does not trigger an immune response and causes minimal side effects.
Call us today at (503) 719–6783 to schedule an evaluation of your knee, and learn if you’re a candidate for advanced cell transplantation.
Despite the growing interest in using biologics for musculoskeletal conditions, knowledge on this topic is still preliminary. Advanced cell transplantation has not yet been thoroughly explored through randomized controlled clinical trials and is therefore considered experimental by the FDA.