Stem cell therapy following meniscus knee surgery may reduce pain, restore meniscus

C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr. (Photo by Cristy Lytal)
C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr. (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

A single stem-cell injection following arthroscopic meniscus knee surgery may provide pain relief and aid in meniscus regrowth, according to a new study by C. Thomas Vangsness, Jr., MD, principal investigator with USC Stem Cell and professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The first-of-its-kind study appeared in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 

The study showed that most patients who received a single injection of adult stem cells following the surgical removal of all or part of a torn meniscus — the wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers in the knee — reported a significant reduction in pain.

“The results demonstrated that high doses of mesenchymal stem cells can be safely delivered in a concentrated manner to a knee joint without abnormal tissue formation,” said Vangsness, lead author of the study. “No one has ever done that before.”