Surgeons based at Southampton’s (England) university hospitals have developed a stem cell procedure that could end the need for hip replacements in patients suffering from the bone disease osteonecrosis.
Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis (AVN) is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply.Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the bone’s eventual collapse. Blood flow to a section of bone can be interrupted if the bone is fractured or the joint becomes dislocated.Avascular necrosis typically causes pain and reduced range of motion in the affected joint.
The procedure, developed by Doug Dunlop, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, and Professor Richard Oreffo, a specialist in musculoskeletal science at the University of Southampton, involves extracting stem cells from the bone marrow of patients in need of hip repair due to osteonecrosis.
The stem cells are mixed with cleaned, crushed bone from another patient who has had their own hip replaced and used to fill the hole made by surgeons after dead and damaged tissue has been removed from the joint.
By using stem cells to send out chemical signals to blood vessels, it is hoped that the body will continue to create new vessels in the hip which will supply enough nutrients to maintain bone strength, said Oreffo.
“Although this work is still ongoing, several patients who have had the procedure have reacted very well and, if we get the results we are hoping for, these patients won’t need to have their hip joints replaced – they should be fixed completely,” said Dunlop.
Stem cells appear to hold great promise in treating a variety of diseases and conditions.Some conditions, such as joint, tendon and muscle injury, are treatable now with stem cells.Other conditions, such as ALS, diabetes, heart disease and MS, appear to be treatable with stem cell therapy, but widespread treatment is still in the near-future.
Dr. Dennis M Lox has been preforming stem cell treatment sucessfully for several years. He has been in practice for over twenty years. He is located in the Tampa Bay area in Clearwater, Florida.
Click here for the Southhampton Hospital’s press release.