Clinical Applicability of Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Stem Cells Cloning. 2020 Dec 17:13:117-136. doi: 10.2147/SCCAA.S268940. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Osteoarthritis causes a progressive deterioration to the protective cartilage between the joints leading to chronic pain and disability. This review focuses on the intrinsic potential of MSCs to stabilize and repair the cartilage tissue of the knee joint in knee osteoarthritis (KOA) patients.

Methods: An online search through the PubMed database was conducted, limiting the search to the English language and human clinical trials within the past 5 years. Twenty-one clinical trials passed the inclusion criteria. Combined, those trials involved the participation of 589 patients where the progress of the treatments was monitored between a 4-month to 7-years period. The cartilage volume and defects were observed through an MRI to provide an objective assessment. While the pain and knee function were monitored using KOOS, VAS, and WOMAC scoring scales providing a subjective assessment.

Results: MRI scans obtained from clinical trials demonstrate a slowed progression of cartilage degeneration and early signs of cartilage regeneration in KOA patients at the 12-month follow-up period. No major adverse effects were observed post-intervention. The overall KOOS, WOMAC, and VAS scores in patients receiving MSC treatment were reduced, suggesting subjective improvements in knee function and pain reduction when compared to patients in the placebo group.

Conclusion: The use of MSC therapy is a valid form of treatment for KOA as it targets the disease itself rather than the symptoms. We found MSC therapy in KOA patients to be safe, effective, and feasible in its execution.

Keywords: AD-MSC; BM-MSC; UC-MSC; adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells; bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells; umbilical-cord derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review