Recent Studies Demonstrate the Value of Cellular "Stem Cell" Therapy


Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell injection in subchondral lesions of knee osteoarthritis: a prospective randomized study versus contralateral arthroplasty at a mean fifteen year follow-up.

Philippe Hernigou  et. al.

6 April 2020

# SICOT   International Orthopaedics

Conclusions This study showed that subchondral bone marrow concentrate (as compared with TKA) had a sufficient effect on pain to postpone or avoid the TKA in the contra lateral [opposite] joint of patients with bilateral [both knee] osteoarthritis. Bone marrow lesions were predictive factors for future knee arthroplasty in the knee with subchondral cell therapy at ten years follow-up.


Biologic Subchondral Injection

For over five years, Kelly Cunningham MD, of Austin OrthoBiologics has been using mesenchymal "stem cell" treatment (MSC, from a patient’s own bone marrow) to successfully treat the pain and disability of mild to moderate knee arthritis.

Now, the stem cell frontier has yielded another exciting procedure that can be combined with MSC joint injection:

Subchondroplasty is the intraosseous (in-bone) injection of stem cell, with or without a bone substitute, to augment the pain relief of MSC joint injection alone.

In layman‘s terms, your own harvested stem cells can now be used not only in the joint, but in the adjacent knee bone (end of femur/top of tibia-shin) to magnify the effect; lessening pain and improving function.

Based on the pioneering work of Dr. Philip Hernigou & others, years of European trials & treatments have revealed that the response of damaged bone to the growth factors and “paracrine” signals from these stem cells can be dramatic. Now, his longer time period follow-up of a previous paper reveals a statistically significant delay in "second-side" knee replacement surgery, presumably due to prolonged pain relief from the injection(s).

In addition to the knee, the hip & shoulder will also respond, where a form of subchondroplasty has been used for AVN (avascular necrosis) for decades.

These are innovative applications of the pain-relieving effects of stem cell treatment.

Soon, we will review a comparison study of MSC Stem Cell injected into the joint vs. in the subchondral bone alone... stay tuned.

Dr. Cunningham is one of the first surgeons in Austin to offer subchondral stem cell injection as both an office and co-surgical treatment for his patients. Early results with respect to return to sport/activity have been remarkable; far sooner than surgery or traditional treatments alone.

Kelly Cunningham MD

Austin Ortho Biologics



Dr. Kelly Cunningham Physician

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