Stem Cells and Bone Marrow: the Way Forward

The concept of using Bone Marrow as a source of the patient’s own stem cells is a good one; we know that such cells are present, albeit in small quantity, and we know that under the right conditions they can differentiate into cartilage. In fact, just recently it has been shown in the lab that certain cells can be made into stem cells by simply changing the acid in their microenvironment; this, after induced stem cells have been reported using a “cocktail” of DNA regulatory factors a couple of years ago. So it seems there are various means by which our bodies ‘turn on” the regulatory mechanism that makes a cell into a stem cell. Our job is to see if we can make that happen at the right place and at the right time.

Harvesting bone marrow from the top of the pelvis can be performed under local anaesthetic in the office.  That bone marrow aspirate (BMA) can then be mixed  with blood from the patient, and then purified using the Angel PRP machine.  Our first task is to then measure the output of the machine by using “biomarkers” for stem cells. Ideally, we could then have a mixture of growth factors (PRP) and an enriched population (definitely NOT a pure concentrate) of stem cells. Since the Angel device is programmable, anticipate that some adjustments need to be made in order to achieve the best results.  Only then can a study be performed on efficacy; where, for example, we inject the mixture into a joint with cartilage damage.

These principles should be applied to any cell based therapy; know what you are injecting. Safety and efficacy can only then be determined.