For many years, differentiation was believed to be the primary function of regenerative stem cells. While it is in fact true that Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have the ability to differentiate, or transform, into multiples types of tissue, MSCs have been shown to have multiple modes of action. They have the ability to reduce inflammation, promote tissue regeneration, home to areas of inflammation, and reduce cell death, as well as other abilities related to healing. Recent literature supports the notion that stem cell therapy may be an effective treatment option for pain management.
Stem Cells Have the Ability to Reduce Pain
The ability of stem cells to regulate inflammation is important when it comes to pain management. By reducing inflammation, stem cells promote healing and increased comfort. When used to treat osteoarthritis, stem cells may lead to cartilage regrowth and healthier, less painful joints.
While a reduction in inflammation can lead to increased comfort, current literature supports that stem cells have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain directly. Stem cells have been shown to secrete pain blocking cytokines (small proteins), which can have opioid-like effects. Stem cells have also shown the ability to reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous tissue).
What does this mean?
Most doctors see and treat patients with pain every day. For some, treatment options can be limited or ineffective. While stem cell research has been promising in this area, more research is needed. We hope that the data from our clinical trials for osteoarthritis combined with data from other clinical trials will produce significant enough results to make stem cell therapy a viable candidate for pain management.