Can stems cells be used as an alternative to knee and hip replacement?

Can stems cells be used as an alternative to knee and hip replacement?

New research from the University of Manchester holds out hope that in the medium term, stems cells will be able to repair damaged joints avoiding the need for painful and costly knee and hip replacements.

The Scientists from the University have worked out how to make stems cells convert into cartilage which could then be used to repair damage joints. Stems cells are blank “templates” that can become any type of cell in our bodies. The mystery has always been what controls this mechanism and also how they know what type of cell they should become. It seems that researchers have found a switch which tells these cells that they show become the basic building blocks of our joints.

If this research can be converted into actual proven treatments, it will revolutionise the treatment of arthritis and in particular the need for replacement surgery.

Stem cells have been a holy grail promising exotic treatments or cures for many diseases especially those associated with aging. However, there has been a lot of hype around these treatments as well as suspect foreign clinics offering bogus treatments.  However, in this case it looks as if viable treatments could be around in a decade.

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