M48 — December 2012 — Stem Cells Get Hip
Intro: Stem Cells are the starting point for all the tissues in your body. Your body grows them all the time. So, Mayo researchers thought why not put them work healing damaged tissues like heart muscle or bone. Here's an example that's really hip from Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic news Network.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rafael Sierra is glad he can help this patient walk again by replacing her badly damaged hip joint. But he'd rather help patients avoid such surgery entirely. She's only 19 years old. Harsh rounds of chemotherapy helped her beat cancer, but caused a condition called osteonecrosis which is essentially the death of the bone.
It can happen in knee, ankle or shoulder joints, but most commonly occurs in the hip at the top of the femur or thigh bone. 80 to 95 percent of patients have eventually needed artificial joint replacement.
However, injections of stem cells have healed the hips of some of Dr. Sierra's patients with a minimally invasive, 45-minute outpatient procedure that poses very little risk. First two small cuts are made at the top of the hip bones.
We harvest the bone marrow from the iliac crest from the patients, and it's currently put into a centrifuge where we spin down the cells.
The stem cells are then mixed with platelet-rich plasma from the patient's own blood. Next the doctor does a hip decompression, the standard procedure of opening the diseased bone at the top of the femur to release pressure and allow new bone to grow.
It now allows us, through a special instrumentation system that we've actually designed here, to inject these cells into the area of the necrosis.
Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Andre Terzic, says this is just one tantalizing example of how helping the body heal itself can lead to actual cures.
In other words we have been able to go after the symptoms of disease. Increasingly, with the advances in technology we'll be able to go after the root cause of the problem.
Dr. Sierra says for most of his patients, stem cell therapy means their hip replacement can wait, hopefully indefinitely.
In 80 percent of the patients, we have been able to halt the progression, at least between 2 and 5 years.
For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Dennis Douda.
Besides chemotherapy, there are several conditions and medications that can destroy healthy joints, for example — steroids given for organ transplants. It's thought this process could also be used to help bone fractures heal. Mayo researchers are also using them to repair heart muscle for heart attack survivors.
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