Transplanting a person’s own fat cells could reduce the symptoms and heal some of the damage of osteoarthritis, says research published in Cell Transplantation.
A total of 1,114 people (average age 62 years, 53% male) with osteoarthritis received self-donated fat cell transplants and were followed for an average of 17 months. Before treatment and at three, six and 12 months, assessments were made of pain, non-steroid analgesic usage, limping, extent of joint movement and stiffness. Hip and knee joints were the most common joints treated and some patients had more than one joint treated.
“No serious side effects, systemic infection or cancer was associated with SVF cell therapy,” report the researchers. “Most patients improved gradually three to 12 months after treatment.”
At least a 75% score improvement was noticed in 63% of the volunteers. And after 12 months, at least a 50% score improvement was seen in 91% of the volunteers. Painkiller use declined dramatically after treatment.
Obesity and a higher grade of osteoarthritis were associated with slower healing.
“Autologous stromal vascular fraction cell therapy for degenerative osteoarthritis is safe, cost effective and clinically effective, and can lead to an improved quality of life,” the researchers conclude. “However, there is no guarantee that this cell therapy can lead to a definite cure for degenerative osteoarthritis. Future patients receiving SVF will need longer follow-up to answer questions about durability and long term safety of SVF cell therapy.”
Source: Arthritis Digest magazine, http://arthritisdigest.co.uk