Thursday, 27 March 2014

Osteoarthritis may be treatable in five years

Professor Frank Barry stem cells
Professor Frank Barry
Researchers in Galway predict that stem cells may be used to treat osteoarthritis withing the next five years, if the current stem cell clinical trials prove to be successful.

The trials involve injecting adult stem cells derived from adipose tissue or fat into cartilage to stimulate its regeneration.

Successful trial
NUI Galway (NUIG) scientists, who are part of a €9 million EU-funded project, have just finished the successful phase one clinical trial.

Professor Frank Barry, scientific director of NUIG’s Regenerative Medicine Institute(Remedi), yesterday said the positive early results indicate a treatment is in sight.

“From the clinical trials conducted so far, we have seen the first signs of finding a cure for this truly incapacitating disease which affects so many. Using the patient’s own stem cells we have been able to treat their diseased joints, and relieve their suffering and burden of pain. Whilst we are still in the early stages of clinical trials, the results so far are extremely positive – such that the use of stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis could become a reality for patients within the next five years. said Prof Barry said.

Prof Barry and his team recently secured Irish Medicines Board licensing to set up the first manufacturing facility of stem cells for human use in Ireland – one of less than half a dozen such centres in Europe.

It aims to culture adult stem cells to tackle conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and associated conditions.

Remedi is a Science Foundation Ireland-funded research cluster, led by NUIG with partners at University College Cork and NUI Maynooth.

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