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 Biological Approaches to Treating Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Devising stem cell therapies. Cell Transplant. 2015 Jul 28; Authors: Han I, Ropper AE, Konya D, Kabatas S, Toktas Z, Aljuboori Z, Zeng X, Chi JH, Zafonte R, Teng YD Abstract Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a common, chronic, and complex degeneration process that frequently leads to back pain and disability, resulting in a major public health issue. In this review we describe biological therapies under preclinical or clinical development with an emphasis on stem cell-based multimodal approaches that target prevention and treatment of IVD degeneration. Systematical review of the basic science and clinical literature was performed to summarize the current status of devising biological approaches to treat IVD degeneration. Since the exact mechanisms underlying IVD degeneration have not yet been fully elucidated and conservative managements appear to be mostly ineffective, current surgical treatment focuses on removal of the pathological disc tissues combined with spinal fusion. The treatment options, however, often produce insufficient efficacy and even serious complications. Therefore, there has been a growing demand and endeavors for developing novel regenerative biology-guided strategies for repairing the IVD via delivery of exogenous growth factors, introduction of therapeutic genes, and transplantation of stem cells, or combinatorial therapies. Overall, the data suggest that though still at a very early stage of development, multimodal regimens of ex vivo engineered stem cell-based discs target prevention and treatment of multifaceted IVD pathology under comprehensive recovery neurobiology principles hold high potential promise for efficacious clinical translations. PMID: 26223943 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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