Joint Effort – Fall 2023

The Future of Joint Repair: The science of regenerative medicine has not caught up with the hype, but shows potential for pain relief.
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Regenerative medicine is an umbrella term for a branch of medicine that uses stem cells and tissue engineering to “fix” tissues that have failed to repair themselves. But expectations for regenerative medicine have sometimes gotten ahead of the science. Although its potential to repair and rebuild cartilage has not been fulfilled yet, it has had successes, especially for pain relief.

This booming field has been largely unregulated. So it’s important to separate what goes on in reputable research institutions from certain for-profit clinics that hawk therapies of questionable value. Regenerative medicine – which is being tried primarily in osteoarthritis (OA) — has two branches. One is tissue engineering, which tries to create replacements for damaged tissue. The other is self-healing, which uses injections of stem cells or blood products to push the body to repair itself.

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Louise Bergeron, Arthritis Advocacy

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