Researchers at UHN are about to conduct the first North American Stem Cell Trial for Osteoarthritis.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) will first be removed from the patient's bone marrow before being sent to UHN Cell Therapy labs to be grown into larger numbers. Dr. Sowmya Viswanathan, Associate Director of the Cell Therapy Program at UHN and co-principle investigator of the study, believes that MSCs may have the ability to create the ideal conditions in the knee joint to help the body reduce inflammation and replace lost cartilage.
When enough MSCs have been cultivated in the lab, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jas Chahal, will perform the operation to inject the patient's own MSCs back into their knee. Together, these two doctors will follow the 12 patients enrolled in the trial to ensure the cells are safe and to understand any changes or improvements they may experience.
The stem cell trial is part of the UHN's Arthritis Program vision to cure arthritis through prevention, early diagnosis and personalized treatment. This campaign and the fundraising efforts to back this research was kick started by all 10 orthopedic surgeons at Toronto Western Hospital, who all felt strongly about the need to improve care for patients with arthritis.
To read the Globe and Mail’s coverage of this research click