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Using stem cells to fight osteoarthritis at the source

Dr. Nizar Mahomed
If Dr. Nizar Mahomed has his way, knee joint replacements, like the one he’s holding, will soon be obsolete. (Photo: The Globe and Mail)

A clinical trial involving patients with osteoarthritis (OA) taking place at the Krembil Research Institute is using stem cells to better understand and help find a cure for one of the most debilitating health problems of our day.

Supported by the Campaign to Cure Arthritis – which includes $3 million personally donated by all of the physicians and surgeons in the Arthritis Program at Toronto Western Hospital – the visionary study focuses on the evolving field of regenerative medicine to help reduce inflammation and replace lost cartilage.

The study at Krembil, the first North American mesenchymal stem cell trial for treating knee OA, could allow clinicians to repair damage biologically – at the source – rather than having to perform surgery to replace disease-ravaged joints in patients' hips, knees, spines and shoulders.

Mesenchymal cells are found in various tissues and fluids, are able to modulate the immune response and can support tissue regeneration.

"We want to put ourselves out of business as joint-replacement surgeons," says Dr. Nizar Mahomed, a Senior Scientist at Krembil, who is also Medical Director of the Arthritis Program and a leading orthopaedic surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital.

"We want to change the trajectory of this disease."​


Krembil Arthritis Magazine 

The Krembil Research Institute and the Globe and Mail have teamed up for a special project designed to highlight the tremendous achievements of the science and research programs at Krembil. The first of three magazines in this series looks at the brain and spine program, a second highlights the vision program and a final edition, which is also now available on line, explores the arthritis program.

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