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Scientific Literature and Research regarding Stem Cells In Orthopaedics

There are three types of stem cells: embryonic, induced pluripotent, and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are used in regenerative medicine around the world.

Adult stem cells come in two “flavors”: hematopoietic, which form blood products of the human body and mesenchymal, which are responsible for musculoskeletal tissue repair [1,2]. They are both important components of the Regenexx SD stem cell treatments that Dr. Stiene performs. Together they work to help create or maintain a blood supply to the treated area, which is critical for healing, as well as is responsible for helping the tissue function in its normal fashion.

Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) work by stopping the natural breakdown of tissue by degradative or “catabolic” proteins and over time arresting or stopping the degenerative process in osteoarthritis, allowing the arthritic joint to function in a normal fashion with minimal pain or disability. If this can be accomplished, a total joint replacement may be avoided [1,2,3]. This makes it a beneficial treatment option for those with osteoarthritis [4].

There are several different ways to harvest MSCs. Dr. Stiene uses bone marrow aspirations as this is a frequently used method of stem cell harvesting. It is a safe, low pain, same-day procedure, with an easily prepared product. This product requires minimal manipulation and is in compliance with the FDA [3]. It is also autologous which means that their use has a low risk of infection or rejection. This makes it a safe option for those suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis [5].

Furthermore; manipulation of harvested stem cells has been shown to be beneficial in cases of very advanced degenerative joint disease [6,7,8]. This is a common practice in other countries but is an area where American medicine is lacking as its practice is restricted by the FDA [9]. Regenexx Cayman, in the Cayman Islands, offers this option to those seeking this form of treatment. You can find more information on their website listed below.

If as a patient you are interested in the research that has been published, key publications are listed below:


  1. Bruder SP, Fink DJ, Caplan AI. Mesenchymal stem cells in bone development, bone repair, and skeletal regeneration therapy. J Cell Biochem 1994; 56:283-294.
  2. Caplan AI. Adult mesenchymal stem cells for tissue engineering versus regenerative medicine. J Cell Physiol 2007;213:341-347.
  3. Sampson S, Botto-van Bemden A, Aufiero D. Stem cell therapies for the treatment of cartilage and bone disorders: osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, and non-union fractures. PM R 2015;7:S26-S32.
  4. Gupta PK, Das AK, Chullikana A, Majumdar AS. Mesenchymal stem cells for cartilage repair in osteoarthritis. Stem Cell Res Ther 2012;3:25.
  5. Centeno CJ, Al-Sayegh H, Freeman MD, Smith J, Murrell WD, Bubnov R. A multi-center analysis of adverse events among two thousand three hundred and seventy two adult patients undergoing adult autologous stem cell therapy for orthopaedic conditions. Int Ortho 2016;40:1755-1765.
  6. Centeno CJ, Busse D, Kisiday J, Keohan C, Freeman M, Karli D. Increased knee cartilage volume in degenerative joint disease using percutaneously implanted autologous mesenchymal stem cells. Pain Physician 2008;11:3:343-353.
  7. Centeno CJ, Faulkner S. The use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopaedics: review of the literature, current research, and regulatory landscape. J Amer Physicians and Surgeons 2011;16:2:38-44.
  8. Centeno CJ, Schultz JR, Cheever M, Freeman M, Robinson B, Faulkner SJ. A case series of percutaneous treatment of non-union fractures with autologous, culture expanded, bone marrow derived, mesenchymal stem cells and platelet lysate. J Bioengineer & Biomechanical Sci 2011;S2:007. Doi:10.4172/2155-9538. S2-007
  9. Centeno CJ, Bashir J. Safety and regulatory issues regarding stem cell therapies: one clinic’s perspective. PM R 2015;7:S4-S7.



Beyond the above-mentioned papers there are thousands of research studies pertaining to stem cell applications in medicine. Research studies conducted and published by Regenexx are available here on their website.


PubMed is also a great resource for those interested in learning more. I suggest using the search terms “Mesenchymal Stem Cells AND Orthopedics”