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NEW RESEARCH: IS THERE EVIDENCE FOR TREATING KNEE ARTHRITIS WITH PRP AND STEM CELLS?

We try to be as up-to-date on the latest research when it comes to orthopedic care. A few weeks ago a new article came out as a review article on cellular-based treatments covering treating knee arthritis with PRP and stem cells.  Review articles are always nice, because they typically highlight many articles and look at the evidence, then come to an overall conclusion on the studied treatment.  Today we review an article recently published by a group of orthopedic surgeons.

The question that these researchers laid out to answer was: Is there evidence to support the use of PRP and Stem Cells for treatment of knee arthritis?

Here is the results from studies that met their criteria:

They reviewed papers for bone marrow stem cells (BM SC), adipose stem cells (SD SC) and platelet rich plasma (PRP). There were multiple papers with patients ranging from 6 to 1400. As you can see, every article they reviewed showed positive gains in favor of the treatment, and in addition all papers highlighted that there were little to no adverse events..…After reviewing all of these, I was very surprised that at the end of the paper under the conclusion, authors concluded that:  “There is no evidence-based information for the use of cell-based therapies in knee osteoarthritis.”

As you can see, every article they reviewed showed positive gains in favor of treating knee arthritis with PRP  and stem cells…so why have they concluded that orthobiologics have no evidence for use in knee OA?

Is “Evidence Based Medicine” Ignoring the Evidence?

I forgot the biggest rule when evaluating research.  Look at the disclosures first. The disclosure will reveal who funded the research and can give insight into motivation behind the research…so check out these disclosures:

“Disclosure Statement: One of the authors (C.J. Lavernia) certifies that he has or may receive royalty payments or benefits in an amount of USD 10,000 to USD 100,000 from Stryker (Mahwah, NJ, USA). He also owns stock in Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ, USA), Zimmer (Warsaw, IN, USA), Stryker (Mahwah, NJ, USA), Wright (Arlington, TN, USA), and Symmetry Medical (Warsaw, IN, USA).”

The authors have received financial support from Arthritis Surgery & Research Foundation for this article. Lets dig deeper into the financial supporter of the research….

Stryker Corporation:  Stryker Corporation (NYSE: SYK) is a Fortune 500 medical technologies firm based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Stryker’s products include implants used in joint replacement and trauma surgeries; surgical equipment and surgical navigation systems; endoscopic and communications systems; patient handling and emergency medical equipment; neurosurgical, neurovascular and spinal devices; as well as other medical device products used in a variety of medical specialties. In 2017 total revenue $12.444 BILLION

Johnson and Johnson: an American multinational corporation founded in 1886 that develops medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods. Its common stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the company is ranked No. 37 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.  J&J is one of the world’s most valuable companies. In 2018 revenue was $81.58 BILLION

Zimmer: is a publicly traded medical device company. Zimmer designs, develops, manufactures and markets orthopedics products, including knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, foot and ankle artificial joints and dental prostheses. Revenue is 2017 was $7.824 BILLION

Symmetry Medical: another device manufacturer that was purchased by Tecomet in 2014 for a bargain price of $450M. Tecomet annual revenue estimated at $696 million

Collectively this represents over a $100 BILLION dollar a year industry that stands to lose business in the face of developing markets such as orthobiologics. Here is the 100 billion reason to ignore the evidence.

The Upside:

Is there evidence for treating knee arthritis with PRP and stem cells? We have been utilizing PRP and various cellular based treatments such as bone marrow concentrate, micro-fragmented adipose tissue and advanced culture expanded mesenchymal stem cell treatment (*cultured treatment only available outside the country at licensed facility in Grand Cayman) for the treatment of arthritis conditions for over decade with excellent results. Our only motivation and disclosure is to provide a minimally invasive treatment aimed at getting patients back to doing what they love with minimal discomfort and pain. If you have an arthritic condition and would like to be evaluated to see any of these treatment options could be beneficial, feel free to contact us to set up an in-office evaluation or even a phone review (if live in another city or country).

 

  1. Vakharia RM, Roche MW, Alcerro JC, Lavernia CJ. The Current Status of Cell-Based Therapies for Primary Knee Osteoarthritis. Orthop Clin North Am. 2019;50(4):415-23.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2020, January 4). Stryker Corporation. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:12, January 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stryker_Corporation&oldid=934025315
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2020, January 17). Johnson & Johnson. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:13, January 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Johnson_%26_Johnson&oldid=936171995
  4. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, December 26). Zimmer Biomet. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:14, January 18, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zimmer_Biomet&oldid=932510768
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