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Baby Boomers turn to stem cells for help with painful joints

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  • Baby Boomers turn to stem cells for help with painful joints

    Baby Boomers turn to stem cells for help with painful joints

    San Diego Union-Tribune, July 17, 2017
    by Bradley J Fikes

    For pain doctor Mark Wallace, arthritis meant his hobby of competitive swimming was becoming too painful.?Every stroke was like an ice pick in my shoulder,? said Wallace, chief of the division of pain medicine at UC San Diego. Cortisone shots relieved the pain for about a month, and then it would return.

    For philanthropist Denny Sanford, even walking was too painful. He sought relief for his arthritis with a right knee replacement, but that didn?t work well. So to treat his other knee, he looked for an alternative.

    Wallace and Sanford said they found that relief with stem cells; Wallace at UC San Diego using cells from his bone marrow, and Sanford at a clinic in Germany using cells from his fat tissue. Their cases ? particularly Wallace?s ? illustrate how the use of stem cells to relieve joint pain is becoming an accepted part of orthopedic medicine.

    With millions of baby boomers experiencing the miseries of arthritis, the need is great and growing. However, the zoo of stem cell treatments is confusing. Outside of legitimate clinical trials, outright quackery proliferates. And legitimate or not, insurance generally doesn?t cover these treatments, which can cost several thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

    Those looking for legitimate stem cell treatments face bewildering choices about where to go and which of the many kinds of stem cells are best for their condition.

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