Autoimmune Disorders: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Stem Cells for Knee Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), unlike osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system attacks its own tissues, thus setting the stage for potential significant joint destruction. Patients consider stem cell treatment for RA as traditional “mainstay” treatments are poorly tolerated or have not controlled the patient’s symptoms adequately. Stem cells are great regulators of the immune system, and as such may modulate or control the inflammatory cascade that occurs in RA-afflicted joints.
Stem cells are also multi-taskers. They can differentiate into other cells (regenerate), they can also secrete chemical cell signals that diminish or negate the influence of catabolic (destructive) cell signals. It is through these effects that stem cells are viewed as the great balancers when they direct repair. In an autoimmune situation such as RA, the knee or other inflamed joint becomes painful when the joint surface or lining is attacked. The lining known as the synovium may be affected first and then the inner cartilage, followed by the knee joint bones. The extend of involvement may be seen on imaging studies such as x-ray or MRI.
Early treatment with regenerative therapies, such as or stem cell therapy, may be more advantageous. This is true in osteoarthritis as well. Placing stem cells into a mildly arthritic region will be more amenable for significant repair than in a joint that is mostly eroded. However, this is not always the case. Patients with autoimmune disorders may have rapidly progressive arthritis, or may not consider stem cell therapy early on, and then try multiple drug trials before looking for alternative treatments such as stem cells. Having alternatives early on, and not just when it is time for knee joint replacement, is an exciting development for all degenerative joint conditions.
About Dennis M. Lox, M.D.
Whether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or have arthritis from aging, Dr. Lox can help.
Dennis M. Lox, M.D. is an internationally renown Sports and Regenerative Medicine specialist. Dr. Lox incorporates Regenerative Medicine techniques such as cell science applications, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Tissue Engineering aspects, to help patients from around the world with a vast array of problems. Dr. Lox is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Lox lectures extensively and has edited two PM&R textbooks, the prestigious A State of the Art Review (Star) on Low Back Pain, and Soft Tissue Injuries: Diagnosis and Treatment.
Dennis M. Lox, M.D. maintains an active practice in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, and in Beverly Hills, California.