Stem Cell Therapy for Knees Singapore 2023

Stem cell therapy for knees in Singapore is an ongoing topic of research and is considered experimental by the medical community. Parents can find fee-for-service clinics that advertise stem cell therapy for knees, but most of these clinics promote their own approach, which creates a lot of confusion among patients.

To learn more about the basics of stem cells, check out stem cell basics.

Globally, stem cell therapy is being touted as a miracle cure for everything from wrinkles to spinal repair. However, there is also a lot of misinformation out there. Even among medical groups, the recommendations are conflicting, lacking in depth and out-dated. 

Most consumers are interested in stem cell treatment for knee pain because it's a non-surgical option as opposed to knee replacement surgery. 

Due to the large burden of disease attributable to knee osteoarthritis, it is important that consumers, healthcare providers and policy‐makers have the most up‐to‐date summary of the evidence for this intervention so they can make informed decisions.

knee osteoarthritis stages
The stages of osteoarthritis, as demonstrated in the knee joint

Some doctors and media channels argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of stem cells to treat orthopaedic conditions. As with most cutting edge treatment, research and experiment is part of a continuous improvement process.

As of April 2023, there are more than 450 scientific publications related to the use of stem cells in treating knee orthopaedic conditions alone. More than 100 studies have been launched to investigate the benefits of stem cell therapy and knee osteoarthritis. You can review the status of these trials on

Stem Cell Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis Evidence and Reviews

Some doctors and media channels argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of stem cells to treat orthopaedic conditions. However, there are more than 400 publications related to the use of stem cells in treating knee orthopaedic conditions alone. There are currently more than 80 studies on stem cell treatment for knee osteoarthritis alone, under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.

In a study of 440 knees from 392 patients at the National University Hospital (NUH) Singapore, the use of stem cells has shown an 80 per cent success rate in two years and a 72 per cent continued success rate of stem cell therapy for knees over 10 years, where patients do not need an additional procedure. These patients were followed for two to 14 years.

This treatment involves the harvesting of a patient's stem cells from the lower back region, followed by the culturing of these cells in the lab. The cultured cells are then injected back into the damaged knee cartilage, where they develop into new cartilage tissue.

Stem cells are special human cells that have the ability to develop into many different cell types, ranging from muscle cells to brain cells. However, their unique properties also present risks. For instance, the stem cells used here could potentially develop into nasty tumour cells instead of cartilage tissue, resulting in cancer.

But Professor James Hui from NUH, who led the study, said they have not seen a single case of cancer in the knees in any of the patients.

But not all patients are suitable for this procedure.

Prof Hui, who is Head and Senior Consultant of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in NUH, added: "We usually prefer seeing patients below the age of 60 as the ability for the cartilage to regenerate is higher for younger patients. More importantly, the cartilage defects have to be localised, and surrounding joint tissue need to be healthy."

Based on magnetic resonance imaging scans, the regenerated cartilage is structurally similar to the original cartilage. But it remains to be seen if they have the same degree of functionality and if the regenerated cartilage is as durable in the long run.

A systematic review (Yubo 2017) of 11 RCTs (randomised controlled trials) concluded that MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) transplantation treatment was shown to be safe and has great potential as an efficacious clinical therapy for patients with knee Osteoarthritis.

Regenexx, the largest provider of stem cell therapy for orthopaedic conditions in the United States alone, have treated 30,000 patients with stem cell therapy for various joint conditions including knee pain. According to Regenexx, common regenerative medicine treatments used in common orthopedic problems have better research evidence than orthopedic surgery.
Several other comparative studies have demonstrated good evidence in the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, there are several approaches and cell lines used. More well-designed and randomised controlled trials are needed to evaluate the best approach and universal consensus. As studies continue, the methods, forms and combinations of stem cell preparations are improving, and outcomes are expected to improve as well.

Stem Cell Therapy Dose for Knee Osteoarthritis

For allogeneic UC-MSC (Umbilical cord - Mesenchymal Stem Cells), a 25-million cell dose may be the most effective among the doses tested for pain reduction (Arthritis Res Ther. 2016). That said, please discuss the optimal treatment with your knee specialist as there might be other factors that might need to be personalised to your situation.

Key Takeaway

Certain patients are likely to benefit from stem cells instead of knee replacement surgery depending on their age and severity of disease, since joint replacement has its own risks. That said, stage 4 or severe knee osteoarthritis is unlikely to benefit from stem cells. You should consult your doctor and come to a decision together.

Other alternatives include supplements, PRP (platelet rich plasma), physical therapy and weight loss might help as well. The Mayo Clinic and others are using approaches beyond stem cells. They are also testing approaches using cartilage cells called chondrocytes instead of stem cells, which also show promise.



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