Developments in stem cells: Implications for joint replacement

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Developments in stem cells: Implications for joint replacement
Can stem cells be an alternative to joint replacement surgery.? Are they able to regenerate cartilage enough? Sarah Maclaine in the Journal of Engineering in Medicine wrote a provocative article regarding the possibility that stem cell research might reverse the projected sevenfold increase in primary and revision knee replacements expected in the United States. A focus on prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis may end the need for primary joint replacements. She mentioned that “since the discovery of stem cells in the 1950s, research has increased exponentially. Expanded autologous chondrocytes, and expanded skeletal stem cells, are currently placed into osteochondral defects in the hope of regenerating cartilage and halting progression towards osteoarthritis. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells are being used in human joints as a treatment for osteoarthritis . Advances in techniques mean it is possible that biologic joint replacements will develop prior to the cessation of the need for surgical joint replacement.
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