Imagine having stem cells taken from your marrow and quickly being transplanted into your worn-out knee cartilage, quicker than your pizza gets delivered.
After close to six years of research and a few dry runs, surgeons from the UK and Korea successfully operated on a patient at the TOSH Hospital in Kilpauk, on Saturday afternoon. The surgery was beamed live for Arthroscopic surgeons across the world as it is believed to be the first time that it has been done in the country.
Earlier, a similar protocol had been developed where the stem cells were extracted from the bone marrow and then harvested for six weeks in a lab, and then inserted into the knee during a second procedure. Dr A A Shetty, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Stem Cell Research in Canterbury Christchurch University, said, "This protocol that we have developed can be used to synthesis the cartilage-to-be cells from bone marrow stem cells within 35 minutes. Knee replacements are much more difficult procedures that can lay the patients out for up to a month, but here they can walk the very next day." He along with Seok Jung Kim, Director of RMS (Regenerative Medical System) Korea, are the pioneers in the field of stem cell therapy in cartilage regeneration.
After 45 ml of stem cells are removed from the none marrow, they undergo some time in the centrifuge and some minor chemical processes before it is injected into the cartilage site, through a keyhole. "It will be extremely effective for people under 55 and a real boon for sportpersons whose knees are often subjected to wear and tear," he added.
TOSH Hospitals' Dr Jaheer Hussain said, “The cost is significantly less when compared to joint replacement and will help young and middle aged patients with early arthritis. This surgery will be soon available to all patients in TOSH (Trauma and Orthoapaedic Speciality hospital) in the months to come.”
Safe Knee Jerk:
- The stem cells are removed from the patient's bone marrow, usually from their back
- The cells are allowed to be processed in a high speed centrifuge inside the
operating theatre itself
- It is then treated with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and some thrombin, before it is
inserted in liquid form into the knee
- The existing cartilage is removed beforehand and the keyhole site is closed
- The collagen-free cells will then turn into cartilage cells over six-months, and
is stimulated by 'appropriate' usage of the knee