One patient, 52-year-old Robert Wilson, was facing knee replacements in his near future until discovering the new stem cell treatment which uses his own adult stem cells harvested from bone marrow in his hip. After the stem cells are extracted, they're brought to the lab where they're grown in special tissue cultures to multiply their numbers. Wilson now receives a series of injections that deposit his stem cells in the arthritic areas, and because they're his own stem cells, there's no risk of rejection or contracting infectious diseases.
Dr. Centeno says that the stem cells are used to form new cartilage or even repair torn ligaments. "They actually may make new cartilage or repair a ligament by becoming a piece of that ligament or a tendon or a bone if there was a defect in bone," he said.
The stem cell treatments have been successful in other cases as well. Knee MRI's of other patients have shown where new cartilage is growing in and x-rays of broken arms that wouldn't heal have revealed new bone after stem cell injections.
Because of the growing use of stem cells in clinical therapy, the concept of people collecting and storing their own stem cells is growing in popularity. An advantage to storing or using one’s own stem cells is that there's no risk of rejection or contracting infectious disease. There are clinical trials showing promising results using adult stem cells for heart failure, diabetes, lupus, MS and even macular degeneration.