Is it really true stem cell treatment works for tendonitis?
Not yet. Stem cell studies are still fairly limited because of federal financial restrictions on stem cell research. Most of the stem cell research being done is with private funding. The focus has been on destructive diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and cancer. Scientists are only starting to investigate the use of stem cells for less benign conditions such as musculoskeletal injuries.
The theory is that supplying stem cells to an arthritic joint or degenerative tendon can bring healing. The stem cell signals the body to improve collagen organization in the tendon.
Animal studies show positive benefit of stem cells for tendon repair. But much more research is needed before this will be applied to humans. Long-term effectiveness must be proven. More information is needed about potential adverse side effects.
Brett M. Andres MD, and George A. C. Murrell, MD, Dphil. Treatment of Tendinopathy. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. July 2008. Vol. 466. No. 7. Pp. 1539-1554.
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