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 [Current research status and progress of stem cells therapy for degenerative intervertebral disc regeneration]. Sheng Wu Yi Xue Gong Cheng Xue Za Zhi. 2014 Dec;31(6):1419-22 Authors: Xie G, Lu F, Yang H Abstract Low back pain caused by intervertebral disc degeneration is a common clinical chronic disease. The regenerative ability of intervertebral disc tissue is extremely poor. Meanwhile, current treating methods can not fundamentally solve such problems. With the increasing awareness of the mechanism of disc degeneration and the rapid development of the fields of cellular and molecular biology, gene and materials engineering, using stem cells and tissue engineering technology to slow down or reverse the progress of disc degeneration may become possible. The author reviewed the application of stem cells for treating degenerative discs from present researching status and concepts for the future in the combination of researches reported both at home and abroad. PMID: 25868271 [PubMed - in process]

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