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
Cell therapy for intervertebral disc repair: advancing cell therapy from bench to clinics.
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Related Articles Cell therapy for intervertebral disc repair: advancing cell therapy from bench to clinics. Eur Cell Mater. 2014;27:5-11 Authors: Benneker LM, Andersson G, Iatridis JC, Sakai D, Härtl R, Ito K, Grad S Abstract Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is a major cause of pain and disability; yet therapeutic options are limited and treatment often remains unsatisfactory. In recent years, research activities have intensified in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and pre-clinical studies have demonstrated encouraging results. Nonetheless, the translation of new biological therapies into clinical practice faces substantial barriers. During the symposium "Where Science meets Clinics", sponsored by the AO Foundation and held in Davos, Switzerland, from September 5-7, 2013, hurdles for translation were outlined, and ways to overcome them were discussed. With respect to cell therapy for IVD repair, it is obvious that regenerative treatment is indicated at early stages of disc degeneration, before structural changes have occurred. It is envisaged that in the near future, screening techniques and non-invasive imaging methods will be available to detect early degenerative changes. The promises of cell therapy include a sustained effect on matrix synthesis, inflammation control, and prevention of angio- and neuro-genesis. Discogenic pain, originating from "black discs" or annular injury, prevention of adjacent segment disease, and prevention of post-discectomy syndrome were identified as prospective indications for cell therapy. Before such therapy can safely and effectively be introduced into clinics, the identification of the patient population and proper standardisation of diagnostic parameters and outcome measurements are indispensable. Furthermore, open questions regarding the optimal cell type and delivery method need to be resolved in order to overcome the safety concerns implied with certain procedures. Finally, appropriate large animal models and well-designed clinical studies will be required, particularly addressing safety aspects. PMID: 24802611 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Read more...