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Patient’s own fat cells transplanted to treat osteoarthritis may be effective

Osteoarthritis (OA), a debilitating and painful degenerative disease, strikes an estimated 14 percent of adults 25 years of age and older, a third of adults age 65 and older in the U.S. alone. Those who suffer from OA may one day have a new and effective cell therapy, thanks to a team of Czech researchers who studied the effectiveness of using an OA patient’s own adipose (fat) cells in a unique transplant therapy aimed at reducing the symptoms of this prevalent and difficult to treat condition as well as healing some of the damage caused by OA.

The Investigational Review Board of American Naturopathic Research Institute/Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute and local ethics committees-approved study, carried out with 1,114 OA volunteer patients who received autologous (self-donated) fat cell transplants after giving their informed consent, saw their symptoms improved by the therapy. The paper describing the study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation and is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-CT-1300_Michalek_et_al

“Adipose-derived cells have potential application in a wide range of clinical disorders, including myocardial infarction, stroke, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, and breast augmentation and reconstruction” said Dr. Jaroslav Michalek, of the International Consortium for Cell Therapy and Immunotherapy, and a member of a research team from a number of research facilities and organizations in the Czech Republic. “In this study we evaluated the safety and efficacy of freshly isolated autologous stromal vascular fraction cells (SVF cells). We hypothesized that the SVF cell treatment might contribute to cartilage healing.”

Dr. Michalek and his colleagues clarified the use of the term SVF cells by noting that many scientific publications use the term adipose tissue as the source of adipose cells, but that the true source of SVF cells is not adipose but the stroma, the loose connective tissue part of the fat typically obtained by liposuction.

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