At last – stem cell science aimed at joint replacements

diagram of a human female skeleton. : the Red ...
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I have been waiting for this news for a long time. By the end of this year, scientists in the UK will for the first time be conducting a study on human cases of osteoarthritis to see how they might apply the miracle of stem-cell therapy to rebuilding damaged cartilage in patients’ arthritic knees.

No details are yet available on the way in which the study will be conducted. But who cares? It’s wonderful to hear at last that this most common affliction–joint replacements account for almost all of the 5.7 billion Pounds spent in the UK on all musculoskeletal conditions ($850 billion in the US according to one source).

Sadly, it’s too late for my left hip, which I had replaced by the brutal butchering-of-the-bones and torturing-of-the-muscles procedure now in use. And of course, there’s no going back once they’ve cut large chunks of your bones out, so it’ll be generations before we can even imagine a way to restore those replaced joints with stem cell or any other kind of therapy.

But for the millions of people suffering with some form of arthritis—including the five siblings in my family who’ve had or will soon have hip replacements—this is profoundly promising news.

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