Artificial hips and knees are a modern miracle that yearly helps nearly 50000 Canadians with arthritis. Toronto Hospital is undertaking a research to replace that costly and extremely hard operation.
Dr. Nizar Mahomed states “implant operations are currently not a panacea, as they do not fully recover the movement functions and those implants need replacement after wearing out”. In case he along with his colleagues in Toronto Western Hospital succeeds in their research, there will be no need in such surgeries.
The research is aimed at finding a natural cure for the joints damaged by osteo-arthritis, which is currently the most widespread form of the disease. One of the most promising directions in that research is the experiment of turning stem cells into bones and cartilage. These can afterwards be implanted into the damaged joints and knees, recovering them and eliminating the arthritis.
“If we are able to establish a control mechanism, your joints and bones will be naturally healed with no restrictions. You will be able to jump and run, as your knees and joints will be healthy again,”- says Dr. Mahomed.
“The joint replacement remains the same as 50 years before. The drugs used to relief the pain are the same your grandparents were taking. This is not a victory, only a long blockade without any chance to success.
The aim of the research is to generate bone and cartilage from the stem cells, extracted from the bone marrow and fat of any adult patient. Currently the generated joints are too thin and so far useless, but the general direction is correct and if we are to succeed in creating the more bulky and sturdy ones, we are going to try them on mice very soon. In case everything goes fine, human treatments are 5 to 10 years away and this might be the first serious progress in this area since the last 50 years, “– he said.
Such short terms are due to the ease of functions. Stem cells-origin bones and joints are only a support, they do not have to transmit neural signals and are much easier to construct.
“This is a reality, not a dream. The cure is at hand,”- said Dr. Mohamed.
The other direction of the research is the injection of mesenchyme stem cells into the damaged joint, which promises a great overall improvement and ease of pain for the patients with arthritis.