Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cambridgeshire clinic receives approval to use adult stem cells for arthritis

Mesenchymal Stem Cell
CambrigeNews reported today that a clinic in Cambridgeshire has recently received approval to use adult stem cells for the treatment of damaged tissues and joints with arthritis.

The Villar Bajwa Practice at the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital in New Road, Impington, is the first private hospital in the UK to offer stem cell  reatment for the hip, undoing the early stages of arthritis.

The clinic is also among the few in England to offer stem cell treatment for the knee, during which stem cells are used to regenerate cartilage.

The operation costs about £3,800 on the NHS and slightly more when done privately.

“One of the Holy Grails of my speciality is to encourage gristle – articular cartilage – to heal. Gristle is that shiny, white layer on the end of a bone that most will have seen on a chicken drumstick. In humans, it coats the ball of the hip, and the hip socket but it features in many other joints, too – knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles, toes and even fingers. Sadly, the moment a gristle surface is breached, be that by injury or even simple ageing, if the damage remains untreated it can gradually expand until arthritis intervenes.” said consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Richard Villar, runs the Impington practice with Ali Bajwa.

In the past years, surgeons have used a great variety of methods to induce cartilage regeneration, including microfracture surgery and autologous chondrocyte implantation. However, both procedures have many problems, including a long and tedious rehab protocol.

Now, attention has turned over to adult stem cells, which are capable of converting themselves into different tissue including cartilage. Surgeons harvest stem cells from the patient and then use a minimally invasive operation (arthroscopy) to access the hip or knee, clear the arthritic area, and apply the stem cells, usually in combination with microfracture surgery.

“Early results for humans, both in the laboratory and clinical practice, are showing great promise for orthopaedic surgery. Yet will stem cells mean that one day hips and knees will no longer need to be replaced? I suspect it is impossible to say right now. Yet what is true is that within each of us lie many tiny cells – stem cells. They are not far from the surface, and may just carry the solution we have been seeking for so many years.” added Villar

Mr Villar and Mr Bajwa will be hosting a free information event – called ‘Hips, Knees and Stem Cells’ – at the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, in New Road, Impington, on Thursday, September 26, from 7-9.30pm.

For reservations or for more information, please call (01223) 266929 or send an email at


1 comment:

  1. Your doctor bases his diagnoses on physical exam, x-rays and blood tests. Although you may believe you have these conditions, unless they show up in one of the above tests, you probably do not have them and there would be no need to "convince" your physician that you have them.


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