Many key players won’t be taking the field this evening in the first game of the NFL season due to sports-related injuries. In fact, Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers will not be playing for the full season because of a torn ACL he received during one of the pre-season games. If stem cell treatment could be used to reduce the recovery period for torn ACL injuries or meniscus tears. This could be highly beneficial for Nelson and have him playing the NFL season without worrying about injury.
There has been a great deal of interest regarding stem cell treatment for sports-related injuries looking at the therapy and the number of athletes who have received it. Of course, there are questions revolving around the use of stem cells considering whether or not these types of cells can be stored in cord blood banks to be used for future athletic injuries.
Why Should Stem Cells Be Used?
Stem cells are physical parts of the body responsible for the development and regeneration of organs and tissues. The cells are found in fat tissue, bone marrow, peripheral blood, umbilical cord blood, and umbilical cord tissue. The umbilical tissue is arguably the richest source of MSCs and these are being researched as a treatment for degenerative medical conditions and tissue injuries.
According to literature in the May publication of the Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery [i], the use of stem cell-based therapy in sports medicine has increased in recent years with the use of this sports injury treatment being available for orthopaedic injuries. The goal of steam cell treatment in orthopaedics assists with the reparation and regeneration of different tissues in the body, such as the tendon, the cartilage, and the muscles. Research has found positive outcomes for these treatments; however, many more trials need to be completed to confirm the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapies.
The primary items used in stem cell treatment are mesenchymal stem cells. These types of stem cells, also known as MSCs, are unique in that they have the ability to inhibit the inflammation of tissue damage and secrete growth factors to aid tissue repair. Umbilical cord tissue contains a high source of MSCs and these types of stem cells are being used more increasingly in treatments for regenerative diseases, such as ALS and heart and kidney conditions.
What About Cell-Based Treatment For Cartilage, Knee Tendon, And Meniscus Repair
The majority of tissue-engineering techniques applied to small animal models have presented with promise regarding the preservation of the meniscus in cell-based therapy. Research has shown that the evaluated outcomes of stem cells are derived from bone marrow and this is used to treat factors involving bone with cartilage of the joint. When injecting joints with bone marrow derived MSCs shows an improvement in cartilage repair.
MSCs can be used as a form of therapy for injury to Achilles tendon. Stem cells have different advantages as a sports injury treatment over bone marrow because they are easier to collect and show a greater tolerance of tissue mismatching.
Final Words On The Matter
As can be seen, using stem cell treatments as a form of sports-related injury therapy is on the increase. The amount of research on cellular therapy continues and the opportunity for growth proves to be limitless with numbers amounts of application. The correct application of stem cells for sports-related injuries will be gained with future understanding and studies. While this is not in time to assist the NFL players for this season, it is a great potential for treatment of injuries incurred by future players.