Spanish scientists use stem cells to heal knee tissue

The department of Traumatology in Alicante General Hospital is pioneering a new technique for treating knee injuries which involves extracting stem cells from knee tissue and injecting them into the affected area of the same knee in order to stimulate the regeneration of cartilage. In the future this process could do away with the need for knee replacements.

Simón Campos, the head of the Traumatology unit in Alicante General Hospital, says that this new technique is much more effective than the one used previously for treating knee injuries which involved extracting stem cells from the hips because the quality of these stem cells depended on the area they were extracted from. Another disadvantage of this technique in treating knee injuries was the need to intervene in a different area of the body to the actual one being treated adding the possibility of post surgical complications.

The Traumatology unit in Alicante Hospital has a long experience in using ground breaking techniques to regenerate tissue principally in tendons and cartilage in the knee area.

In the 90’s a pioneering technique involving hydraulic acid was used to lubricate joints in order to reduce painful symptoms in patients. However this technique had several disadvantages one of which was the fact that because it was artificial it did not regenerate tissue and was reabsorbed too quickly.

Four years ago Campos began working on new techniques which used the power of regeneration contained in blood cells. The results of this research were extremely encouraging although the positive results for the patient were temporary.

The Traumatology unit in Alicante has already treated hundreds of patients with degenerative knee conditions and sports injuries the results of which are currently being analyzed. The team headed by Campos has already achieved regenerating new bone tissue in cases where knee replacements which needed to be renewed.

Campos says that this technique helps to limit the loss of bone which the use of replacement joints causes and which makes implanting a new one more complicated.