knee cartilage regeneration

Stem Cells from Fat vs. Bone Marrow – Best Sources for Cartilage Repair

Scott Brandt, M.D. Research, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells for Back Pain, Stem Cells for Joint & Soft Tissue Pain

Based on previous studies and our clinical experience, ThriveMD has built our stem cell procedure protocol based on the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) prepared from adipose tissue (fat). The mixture of regenerative cells and growth factors that are derived from adipose tissue is called the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and has been an excellent choice for soft tissue repair, especially the regeneration of cartilaginous tissue in the back and joints (such as knees, hips or shoulders).

Fat tissue provides the largest volume of adult stem cells, while bone marrow provides additional growth factors and stem cells to aid with the repair process. The addition of bone marrow concentrate to the powerful stromal vascular fraction further amplifies the healing potential of the injection.

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The Potential of Cartilage Regeneration with Stem Cells

Cartilage regeneration has the potential to help avoid invasive procedures, such as joint replacement, or to help alleviate arthritic joint pain.
 Cartilage regeneration with stem cells has the potential to help avoid invasive procedures, such as joint replacement, or to help alleviate arthritic joint pain. Throughout the past six years we have also been seeing excellent results with the use of SVF in the back pain treatment, most prominently in the treatment of degenerative disc disease. Spinal applications utilizing these regenerative therapies are quickly becoming the most successful stem cell procedure we perform at ThriveMD.

Fat vs. Bone Marrow – How the Different Types of Stem Cells Work

Adipose (fat) tissue provides the largest volume of adult stem cells (500 to 2,000 times the number of cells per volume found in bone marrow). Bone marrow provides some stem cells, but more importantly provides a large volume of additional growth factors to aid in the repair process. In addition to adult stem cells, fat tissue also contains numerous other regenerative cells that are important to the healing process. Stem cells derived from adipose fat tissue have been shown to be a much better source for the repair of cartilage degeneration and recent studies have demonstrated its superior ability to differentiate
into cartilage.

The Studies on Adipose vs. Bone Marrow Stem Cells

First, a stem cell research article by Jang and Koh titled Characterization of Adipose Tissue-Derived Stromal Vascular Fraction for Clinical Application to Cartilage Regeneration highly supports the premise that adipose derived cells are a far better source of stem cells than bone marrow concentrate (BMC) for a point of care (same day) cartilage regeneration stem cell procedure. This article did an excellent multi-part analysis comparing bone marrow concentrate to stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and cleared some stem cell misconceptions.

The authors used several types of analysis to define the significant differences in the content and function of these two regenerative injection concentrates. Flow cytometry allowed a thorough look at the cell yield. It demonstrated that SVF contained 10 times more MSC’s and 5 times more adherent cells than BMC, perhaps the most crucial components for these types of procedures .

It also showed that SVF had 200 times more stromal cells and 18 times more pericytes, both also very important in a regenerative procedure for joints, spinal discs and soft tissue. Also, of importance, the BMC contained 6 times more leukocytes, or white blood cells which can impede healing by furthering the inflammatory reaction at the site of the injury.

One minute with Dr. Brandt on the best sources for harvesting stem cells

Stromal vascular fraction was dramatically better than bone marrow concentrate in its ability to differentiate into cartilage.
Two other important features were also well documented in this study. SVF created significantly more colony forming units than BMC, another significant predictor of healing response. Perhaps most importantly, SVF was dramatically better than BMC in its ability to differentiate into cartilage.

Second, a study by Han Chao et al has also demonstrated that fat derived stem cells also have a higher proliferation potential for neural tissue and are a better source for not only cartilage regeneration but also for nervous system regeneration.

Stem Cells from Fat vs. Bone Marrow – the Superior Choice

The studies gave a very comprehensive look at comparing BMC and SVF in the ability to repair cartilage damage in a same procedure protocol. Every significant measurement comparing bone marrow to adipose tissue for stem cell harvesting demonstrated that adipose derived stem cells provided better cell content and superior ability to differentiate into cartilage than bone marrow. Our extensive clinical experience with the procedure for Colorado patients suffering from pain in the knees, other joints, soft tissue, and a wide range of back problems – clearly demonstrates the same.

Using the most effective combination of autologous stem cell sources is one of several criteria to identify a legitimate stem cell clinic. Other important characteristics we recommend paying attention to when choosing a stem cell clinic, include the presence of a physician who owns and operates the clinic, X-ray guided injections administered by a trained injection specialist, and a clinic that takes time to discuss your questions. A review of your imaging and clinical data is needed in order to determine if stem cell therapy is right for you.

*Individual patient results may vary. Contact us today to find out if stem cell therapy may be able to help you.

Next Step

If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy administered by a trusted clinic, please contact us today.