• Stem cell therapy for degenerative joint disease

A small piece of fat is removed as a minor surgical procedure under general anaesthetic. This is sent to the lab, and they culture the patient’s own stem cells from it. A couple of weeks later, we get these cultured stem cells back and these can then be injected into one or more problem joints. The hope is that the stem cells will enhance repair and regeneration, which should help balance the degenerative changes occurring in the joint(s). DJD is progressive, but the aim is to slow the progression.

The lab sent us some groovy pictures of the cells mid-culture. The higher-power photo is taken from more or less the centre of the field of the other (medium-power) photo. The bright yellow cells are either rounding up to divide or have recently divided or else are moving. They pull in most of their cytoplasmic strands in order to move so they round up a bit. On the higher power view, you can see the long cytoplasmic strands – it is quite hard to work out who they belong to!