In the United States, the number of centers advertising stem cell therapies for knee osteoarthritis (OA) are increasing. These centers claim 80% success rate, according to a study presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons ( AAOS ).

"Our role as orthopaedic surgeons is to provide accurate , credible information on treatment options to our patients," said George Muschler, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Director at the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at the Cleveland Clinic.

"Recent systematic reviews of cellular therapies for the treatment of knee OA (over 400 papers screened) have found poor levels of evidence for the efficacy of these treatments to date." Current evidence does not justify the rapid rate of growth for these therapies. "

OA affects more than 27 million Americans and an estimated 9.9 million adults suffer from OA the knee. Risk factors include age, genetics, being overweight, and repetitive knee bending or heavy lifting. Women have an increased risk of OA of the knee as they age. OA of the knee causes joint pain, stiffness and makes movement difficult.ii

The scientists contacted 317 US centers that offer direct-to-consumer stem cell musculoskeletal treatments. All communications were via phone or email. The 273 that were successfully contacted were asked for information on same-day stem cell injections for OA of the knee, including clinical efficacy and cost.

Sixty-five centers provided pricing for a same-day stem cell unilateral knee injection. The mean cost for each therapy was $ 5,156, with prices varying from $ 1,150 to $ 12,000. Fourteen centers charged less than $ 3,000 and 10 clinics charged more than $ 8,000 per injection. As insurance does not cover stem cell treatments, coverage is paid 100% by the patient.

Regarding treatment effectiveness , 36 centers provided data with the mean marketed clinical efficacy of 82.2%. Ten clinics claimed 90-100% efficacy, 15 claimed 80 to 90% efficacy, 10 claimed 70 to 80% efficacy and one claimed 55% of greater clinical efficacy. The found no correlation between treatment costs and marketed clinical efficacy.

"The claim of " stem cell " therapy carries a high level of expectations for the potential benefits, but research is still many years away from providing clear evidence of effective treatment to patients," said Nicolas S. Piuzzi, lead author and Clinical Scholar in Orthopedic Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

"As clinicians and Researchers, We Have ethical, scientific, legal and regulatory Concerns. Patients need to be aware of the status of research Within the field. If They receive information from anyone offering to treatment claim of an 80 to 100% successful recovery, they should be concerned in observance of published peer-reviewed evidence. "