A stem cell Research Center with a focus on osteoarthritis opens in the UK
UK Opens Stem Cell Research Center (written by Biloine Young @ OTW)
Scientists at Newcastle University and Arthritis Research, in the United Kingdom, are joining the international campaign to successfully regenerate bone and cartilage, damaged by degenerative joint disease, through the use of a patient’s own stem cells.
The research, if successful, could revolutionize the treatment of osteoarthritis. Researchers say that within five years they hope to treat early osteoarthritis by introducing adult stem cells and other types of cells into damaged joints and repair damage through less invasive operations—which will ultimately delay the need for joint replacement.
Professor Andrew McCaskie, centre director and professor of orthopaedic surgery at Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine and the Freeman Hospital, is leading the studies in the region.
“This is an exciting new development,” said McCaskie. “We hope and aim that elements of this approach will go from the bench to the bedside within the first five years. Osteoarthritis affects eight million people in the UK and our study is bringing together groups from all around the UK, including doctors and researchers, to look at a different way and process of treating the illness. By using stem cells we’re trying to treat osteoarthritis at an earlier stage and assist the human body to repair itself.”
In an October 6 press release, Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said, “This early experimental work is the first step on a journey that could significantly reduce the need for joint replacement operations. Although joint replacement can be spectacularly successful, finding an injectable cell-based answer that could be used earlier would be a major breakthrough, reducing pain and disability and minimizing health service costs. We believe our new centre will lead the way in this exciting field of research.”