Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Degeneration of the intervertebral disc, often called "degenerative disc disease" (DDD) of the spine, is a condition that can be painful and can greatly affect the quality of one's life.


While disc degeneration is a normal part of aging and for most people is not a problem, for certain individuals a degenerated disc can cause severe constant chronic pain. Often, degenerative disc disease can be successfully treated without surgery. One or a combination of treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) and other chiropractic treatments, osteopathic manipulation, anti-inflammatory medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, traction, or spinal injections often provide adequate relief of these troubling symptoms.

Degenerative discs typically show degenerative fibrocartilage and clusters of chondrocytes, suggestive of repair. Inflammation may or may not be present. Histologic examination of disc fragments resected for presumed DDD is routine to exclude malignancy.

Fibrocartilage replaces the gelatinous mucoid material of the nucleus pulposus as the disc changes with age. There may be splits in the annulus fibrosis, permitting herniation of elements of nucleus pulposus. There may also be shrinkage of the nucleus pulposus that produces prolapse of the annulus with secondary osteophyte formation at the margins of the adjacent vertebral body.

The pathologic findings in DDD include protrusion, spondylolysis, and/or subluxation of vertebrae (sponylolisthesis) and spinal stenosis.


Stem Cell Treatment and Degenerative Disc Disease NIH Streaming Database

Related Articles Therapeutic effects of gefitinib-encapsulated thermosensitive injectable hydrogel in intervertebral disc degeneration. Biomaterials. 2018 Jan 11;160:56-68 Authors: Pan Z, Sun H, Xie B, Xia D, Zhang X, Yu D, Li J, Xu Y, Wang Z, Wu Y, Zhang X, Wang Y, Fu Q, Hu W, Yang Y, Bunpetch V, Shen W, Heng BC, Zhang S, Ouyang H Abstract Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is one of the most widespread musculoskeletal diseases worldwide, which remains an intractable clinical challenge. The aim of this study is to investigate the therapeutic potential of the small molecule gefitinib (an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor) in ameliorating IVD degeneration. Aberrant EGFR activation levels were detected in both human and rat degenerative IVDs, which prompted us to investigate the functional roles of EGFR by utilizing inducible cartilage-specific EGFR-deficient mice. We demonstrated that conditional EGFR deletion in mice increased nucleus pulposus (NP) extracellular matrix (ECM) production and autophagy marker activation while MMP13 expression decreased. These outcomes are comparable to the use of a controlled-release injectable thermosensitive hydrogel of gefitinib to block EGFR activity in a puncture-induced rat model. We also conducted a case series study involving patients with non-small cell lung cancer and IVD degeneration who received gefitinib treatment from 2010 to 2015. Gefitinib-treated patients displayed a relative slower disc degenerating progression, in contrast to control subjects. These findings thus provide evidence that suppression of EGFR by the FDA-approved drug gefitinib can protect IVD degeneration in rats, implying the potential application of gefitinib as a small molecule drug for treating IVD degeneration. PMID: 29396379 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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