Can You Use Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis in Hands?
Stem cell therapy has been one of the controversial treatments for injuries and chronic illnesses that is available today. Most of us have heard of some miraculous claims that stem cell clinics have made regarding treatments offered to those suffering from chronic conditions. You may have even heard of the benefits of stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands specifically. The research into stem cell therapy is highly regulated by the FDA so that all studies done are ethical and safe. The problem with this is these regulations is they make conducting the research sometimes difficult.
There has been some research to discover if stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands is a viable solution and whether it is a good alternative to surgery. Most of us tend to just rely on drugs to manage the pain from arthritis so that we can avoid surgery altogether. The problem with having to take pills every day to manage chronic pain is that after prolonged use you will experience side effects. Even anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can cause stomach issues like ulcers when taken every day over a long period of time.
First, we will go over what kind of stem cells are used in treatments. Then, to discover whether stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands can be used in order to avoid taking pharmaceuticals to mitigate pain from arthritis, we need to take a closer look into what stem cell research has been done when treating arthritis and what kinds of arthritis respond to stem cell therapy.
Adult & Embryonic Stem Cells
There are many different types of stem cells. However, there are only two types for treating injuries and ailments. One of these is called “adult stem cells,” also known as somatic or tissue stem cells. Adult stem cells are cells that are currently residing in your body right now. Frequently, they’re found in bone marrow or fat. The other main type of stem cell used for treatment is embryonic stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells can only be obtained from human embryos that are three to five days old. They are much more versatile than adult stem cells as they have the ability to divide and become literally any other kind of cell in the body. This means then when injected at the point of an injury with embryonic stem cells, those cells have the ability to regenerate and repair the damaged tissue, so says research from the Mayo Clinic. This ability to undergo self-renewal and give rise to all of the cells in the human body make embryonic stem cells “Pluripotent.”
Adult Stem Cells
Adult stem cells are much easier to obtain as they can be harvested from the individual who is seeking stem cell treatment. Compared to embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells have a much more limited ability to give rise to the other cells in the human body. However, this does not mean adult stem cells are useless, far from it. In fact, adult stem cells can be used in stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands.
Adult stem cells are also used mainstream to treat blood disorders via bone marrow transplants. According to research from the Boston Children’s Hospital, adult stem cells are mesenchymal stem cells, (MSCs) meaning that they generate connective tissue such are cartilage, tendons, and the bone itself. This ability to regenerate and renew cartilage, tendons, and bone makes adult stem cells excellent when used to treat arthritis. (Luque-Campos, 2019)
The Types of Arthritis That Affects the Hands
We use our hands to do pretty much every daily task and activity. Everything from drinking our morning coffee to driving to work every day, we use our hands. One could argue that our hands are easily the most used appendage on the human body. The constant use of our hands over time wears down on all the tendons, cartilage, and ligaments that can cause arthritis.
There are three main types of arthritis that affect the hands. These are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Those affected by any of these types of arthritis in the hands make it difficult for people to hold items, write or type, bathe and dress themselves or even hold their own small children. Symptoms of arthritis involve severe pain, swelling, and a loss of function in the hands and fingers.
Osteoarthritis, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This type of arthritis affects millions of people worldwide and normally people begin to feel the effects of it as they age, but this is not always the case. Sufferers experience cartilage separation and the bones of your joint degrade and deteriorate from constant use. The risk factors for developing Osteoarthritis include of course age, obesity, joint injuries, and jobs of activities that create repetitive stress on the joints. Now, it’s becoming clear why stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands could be useful for this form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects both the hands and the feet. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease as well as a systemic disease. This means that for some reason a person’s immune system mistakes the body’s healthy tissue as a foreign invader and begins attacking the tissue. Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and stiffness in the affected areas, swelling, loss of movement, low-grade fevers, weight and appetite loss, and joint deformity.
Psoriatic arthritis is most commonly accompanied by the autoimmune skin condition psoriasis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include swelling and tenderness in the affected joints, pain, and stiffness when a person wakes up that gradually goes away during the day. Affected toes and fingers sometimes develop a sausage-like appearance known as dactylitis.
Stem Cell Therapy for the Different Types of Arthritis in Hands
Many people with arthritis in hands use stem cells. But is stem cell therapy a good alternative to surgery for all types of arthritis that affects the hands? A study in the American Journal of Translational Research shows that multipotent stem cells (adult stem cells) “have great potential in promoting the regeneration of chondrocytes and differentiation into cartilage.”
With the strict FDA regulations regarding stem cell research, there could be a lot more research into the effects of stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands, but the research that has been done is very exciting. Especially when it comes to osteoarthritis, due to the stem cell’s ability to repair damaged cartilage. The director of the Institute for Cartilage Repair in New York, Dr. Riley Williams III, stated on the record “I’m really excited about the prospects for treating very early arthritis and some chronic overuse injuries. [Stem cells] are not going to work for bone-on-bone arthritis, but they are helpful when people are just starting to have some pain and swelling.”
With rheumatoid arthritis being a very different nature of affliction than osteoarthritis, you must wonder if stem cell therapy would be a viable treatment for this form of arthritis as well. We have discovered that stem cells have the ability to transform themselves into any other type of cell in the body. This process is called differentiation. According to Dr. Louis Cona, the Medical Director of DVC Stem, stem cells have both an anti-inflammatory agent and can regulate or calm an imbalanced immune system. Dr. Cona states that data has shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have immunosuppressive capabilities. This would make stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis very beneficial.
Stem Cell Studies Involving Arthritis in Hands
MSCs are an interesting therapeutic cell candidate for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). This is due to their capacity to attenuate the heightened pathogenic immune response observed in these patients. So says a 2019 study. (Luque-Campos, 2019).
The Wang Arthritis Study
Furthermore, another 2019 study (Wang), involving 64 rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, showed absolutely no danger in the treatment and that stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is a safe treatment option. They also discovered that stem cell therapy was a very effective treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis. The researcher’s state:
“There were significant decreases for the Inflammatory and/or RA Serological Makers, including ESR, CRP, RF, and anti-CCP at one year and three years after treatment. Compared with the pretreatment level from patients with RA, they showed decreased levels of ESR, CRP, RF, and anti-CCP after one year and three-year post-treatment.”
The standard treatments for psoriatic arthritis include topical steroids, oral prednisone, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. The problem with psoriatic arthritis is that most patients normally fail one treatment or the other. Some patients with psoriatic arthritis do not respond at all to steroids. Long-term use of steroids and prednisone also come with unwelcome side effects.
The Saint Joseph’s Study
Here we look at a study done by researchers from Saint Joseph’s School of Medicine in 2019. The study involves a 60-year-old patient that has had psoriatic arthritis for over 20 years. The patient had tried literally every treatment option available for the condition available with limited results. Unfortunately, the patient had an allergy to NSAIDs which limited the anti-inflammatory medication she could safely take to control the condition. (Dreschnack PA, 2019)
After receiving stem cell therapy, the patient began to see results within one week as her skin lesions began to remarkably improve. Within four weeks all the skin lesions, which had covered almost 80% of her body, had disappeared. The patient was skin lesion free with much less pain for seven months. (Dreschnack PA, 2019).
Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis in Hands at Stem Cells LA
Stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands can be a good alternative to painful and invasive surgery. We have covered research on how stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands treats the different types of arthritis that commonly affect the hands. While the research into stem cell therapy for arthritis is limited, the findings from these studies are very promising.
Here at Stem Cells LA, we are however stem cell advocates, and we make it our goal to connect people, like you that are suffering and want an alternative to surgery, with reputable stem cell clinics. Stem cell therapy for arthritis in hands can be the relief that you are searching for.
LA STEM CELL THERAPY PROVIDERS
Stem Cells LA offers helpful information about stem cell treatments for arthritis, neuropathy, orthopedic disease, anti-aging, and more. Additionally, the restorative properties of stem cell treatments may help reduce healing time for other procedures.
At Stem Cells LA, we’re happy to provide informational services and connect you with a cell therapy provider. They’ll help you determine if stem cell therapy is right for you and your unique situation.
It’s important to look into the patient experience. Your safety, privacy, and well-being are of the utmost importance to us. Remember, we’re here for you! Above all, only a qualified doctor can help you decide if stem cell therapy is right for you. We may be able to help set you up with a trusted regenerative medicine specialist. To book a consultation, call us today.
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Redondo Beach, CA 90277
- Dreschnack PA, S. M. (2019). Case Report: Psoriatic Arthritis and Stem Cell Therapy. Regen Med.
- Luque-Campos, N. C.-L.-M.-C. (2019). Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Progression by Controlling Memory T Cell Response.
- Wang, L. H. (n.d.). Efficacy and Safety of Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Prospective Phase I/II Study. ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930836/.