Stem Cell Therapy for Patients with Active Arthritis

The Arthritis is used to describe pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint or joints. Arthritis is not a single condition and there are several different types. Main types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, Gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, Spondyloarthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Psoriatic arthritis etc. Around 10 million people in the UK are thought to have arthritis. It can affect people of all ages- even children and teenagers. Some forms of arthritis are common in older people. If you have pain in or around a joint that doesn’t go away after a few days, you should see a doctor. Although there is not 100% cure for arthritis, treatments have improved greatly in recent years and for many types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory arthritis, there is a clear benefit in starting treatment at an early stage. 

The exact reason to say what caused arthritis is difficult. There are several factors that can increase the risk of each type of arthritis. It could be genes you inherited from your parents made you more likely to get arthritis. Some other reasons include older age, injury, infection, autoimmune factors etc. It can make life tough by causing pain and making it harder to get about. Whatever condition you have, remaining physically active will help you stay mobile and will be good for your general health. 

Sign and symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, joint swelling, stiffness of joint, deformity of joints, grinding sensations, lumps and bumps around joints, joint tenderness, warm red joints etc. Diagnosing arthritis can be confusing and complicated. With some many types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases, symptoms- especially early symptoms can overlap, making it difficult to differentiate between the various types. Self-checks, lab tests and imaging can help in proper diagnosis of this disease. The goal of arthritis treatment is to control pain and other symptoms, minimize joint damage and deformities, slow progression of the disease, and preserve physical functioning. There are many arthritis treatments options to help with this, including medications, lifestyle changes, joint injections, surgeries and more. There may be need for a combination of treatments.  Recently stem cells have also shown a promise in treatment of arthritis.

Stem cells have been largely proposed as a therapeutic tool for autoimmune disease treatment due to their potent suppressive activity to inhibit proinflammatory cells from both the innate and adaptive immune system. Indeed, it has been reported that stem cells are able to modulate the differentiation and function of myeloid cells toward immunosuppressive phenotypes. The mechanism of the immunomodulatory effects of stem cells is not completely understood, although both direct and indirect effects have been suggested through either cell-cell interaction or soluble factors that create a local immunosuppressive environment. Stem cells alter the cytokine secretion profile of dendritic cells, naïve and effector T cells and NK cells to induce a more anti-inflammatory or tolerant phenotype. Stem cells display a rich secretory profile which is enhanced by exposure to inflammatory signals. A proteomics approach identified 118 proteins differentially expressed by human stem cells upon tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α stimulation. These include many cytokines and chemokines, chemokine ligand and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, proteases and protease inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases and extracellular matrix molecules and factors involved in immune regulation and cell signaling.

The self-renewing and multidifferentiation abilities have rendered stem cells, an attractive alternative for the treatment of arthritic pathology. Considering the complexity and efficiency of currently available therapies in long term, the cell-based regenerative therapy has widely been explored to treat the arthritis and proven to hold a promising future.