Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells – safety and efficacy
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) isolated from bone marrow or adipose tissue are usually being used in clinical trials in an autologous settings, i.e. the patient receives his own cells. Intra-articular injections of autologous MSC were proved to be effective in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. MSC isolated from the patient’s bone marrow or adipose tissue reduced pain 3 to 6 months after treatment when injected intra-articulary.
Reduction of pain allowed for increased performance in daily activities and return to sports. Recently, scientists from Spain decided to treat osteoarthritis patients with allogeneic bone marrow MSC, i.e. with cells isolated from the bone marrow of an unrelated donor. In this blinded clinical trial, the researchers did not notice any adverse effects that might have been caused by application of allogeneic cells. In fact, the patients that were given allogeneic MSC declared marked pain reduction, from 54 to 33 points in a 100-point scale (higher score represents more intense pain) one year after treatment. The patients in the control group who received only vehicle (hyaluronic acid) reported only modest pain reduction.
The improved well-being reported by patients treated with cells was correlated with increased cartilage quality as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. The scientists found areas of cartilage in the vicinity of the femur bone, which were most severely affected pre-treatment but returned to normal after treatment. Therefore in the light of recent clinical studies, application of MSC in knee osteoarthritis seems to be a better solution than the relatively common autologous chondrocyte transplantation. The use of allogenic MSC might be a good alternative when sufficient number of autologous cells cannot be obtained or the cells ready for transplantation need to by quickly provided.
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