Dr. Mark Miller on the risks of stem cell treatments for knee osteoarthritis

Shayna Korol -   Print  |

Mark Miller, MD, is an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon and orthopedic surgery professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

In an article in The Conversation, Dr. Miller claims stem cell treatments for knee osteoarthritis are unproven, expensive and potentially dangerous to patients.

Three key points:

1. "Unfortunately, the excitement about stem cells has outpaced the science in many areas of health care," wrote Dr. Miller. Due to ethical issues associated with fetal tissue use, the FDA has restricted its use. The FDA prohibits manipulation of adult stem cells, including processing and culturing of these cells, making obtaining an abundant source of concentrated stem cells difficult.

2. The issue with stem cells, according to Dr. Miller, is that they may not stop developing at the cartilage cell phase, instead of continuing to differentiate into bone cells, which can potentially worsening the joint.

3. Patients may experience complications from harvesting bone marrow from the pelvis, which contains less than 0.01 percent stem cells, including fractures, injuries and infections. "And while harvesting fat may seem even more attractive," Dr. Miller wrote, "the yield of actual stem cells may be even less."

More articles on biologics:
Bone graft substitute receives CE mark approval: 3 notes
Dr. Seth Sherman performs cell-free knee cartilage repair implantation: 3 things to know about the FDA study
Biogennix appoints new CFO: 5 things to know

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