Stem Cells & Osteoporosis Treatment

The use of stem cells for tissue regeneration has raised great hope in various fields of medicine, including musculoskeletal disorders such as Osteoporosis. Stem cell therapy for osteoporosis potentially augments lost mineral density by either, increasing the numbers of, or restoring the function of, resident stem cells that can proliferate and differentiate into bone-forming cells, reducing the susceptibility of fractures.

Stem cell therapy promotes the regeneration of new bone and connective tissue. This regenerative process uses stem cells to rebuild and strengthen bones, decreasing the risk of bone loss. Stem cell therapy could help reverse the effects of osteoporosis.

Many people think of bones as being rigid, solid and structural, but actually bone is a highly dynamic and active organ. Using endogenous stem cells, old bone is constantly being replaced by new bone. This mechanism of daily maintenance is enhanced by stem cell therapy.

Stem cells first produce cartilage and then create new bone. Osteoporosis therapies can be carried out by the intravenous introduction of stem cells that have typically been procured from bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord blood tissue. It also can be done through treatments with drugs or small molecules that recruit endogenous stem cells to osteoporotic sites.

A group of researchers from the University of Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital suggest that the use of stem cell therapies could restore their normal bone structure.

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Approximately 10 million people in the United States are diagnosed as osteoporotic, while an additional 34 million are classified as having low bone mass. Current osteoporosis treatments are basically anti- bone-resorbing drugs associated with several side effects.

With age-related osteoporosis, the inner structure of the bone diminishes, leaving the bone less dense, thinner and with a loss of function. Studies demonstrate a causal effect between osteoporosis and low or defective stem cells. According to a Senior Scientist ath the Ottawa Hospital and Professor at the University of Ottowa, researchers reasoned that if defective stem cells are responsible for osteoporosis, transplantation of healthy stem cells should be able to prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Treatment using stem cells was shown to increase strength, plasticity, and structure of bones. This finding will revolutionize how physicians treat osteoporosis and may eliminate current osteoporosis treatments (antiresorptive and anabolic drugs), which have many side effects.

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