Knee Osteoarthritis Study | Orthopedic Associates

By John Urse, DO

Single Stem Cell Injection for Knee Osteoarthritis Shown to be Safe and to Regenerate Cartilage

The Study

Fifteen patients were given a single stem cell injection into their Osteoarthritic knee, from a pelvis bone marrow aspiration. All had mild to moderate XRay findings of knee arthritis. Cartilage integrity was assessed using MRI and T-2 mapping at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months (T-2 mapping enables measurement of changes in cartilage composition and thickness). A pain rating scale and a knee function score was tabulated before and after one year of treatment.


A relevant decrease in the intensity of pain was noted after day 8, with maximum improvement that was maintained after 12 months. Quality of Life (QoL) tests also improved with less pain and better physical functioning. T2 mapping showed signs of cartilage regeneration in all patients at 12 months post-treatment. Most clinical improvement occurred between 6 and 12 months after knee injection. Long-term follow-up at 4 year showed even more improvement in pain and function scores. One patient underwent Total Knee Replacement, and one patient had an acute meniscal tear requiring surgery.


Single intra-articular knee injection of autologous (a patients’ own) stem cells from bone marrow aspiration is safe and well-tolerated. It is also associated with a long-lasting improvement of pain, quality of life (up to 4 years), and signs of cartilage repair.

Reference: Soler,R,et al: Final results of a phase I-II trial using ex vivo expanded autologous Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the knee confirming safety and suggesting cartilage regeneration. The Knee 23 (2016) 647-654.