The diagnosis and the prompt treatment of early osteoarthritis (OA) represent vital steps for delaying the onset and progression of fully blown OA, which is the most common form of arthritis, involving more than 10 % of the world’s population older than 60 years of age. Nonsurgical treatments such as physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and other disease-modifying drugs all have modest and short-lasting effect. In this context, the biological approaches have recently gained more and more attention. Growth factors, blood derivatives, such as platelet concentrates, and mesenchymal adult stem cells, either expanded or freshly isolated, are advocated amongst the most promising tool for the treatment of OA, especially in the early phases. Primarily targeted towards focal cartilage defects, these biological agents have indeed recently showed promising results to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in patients with more advanced OA as well, with the final aim to halt the progression of the disease and the need for joint replacement. However, despite of a number of satisfactory in vitro and pre-clinical studies, the evidences are still limited to support their clinical efficacy in OA setting. Level of evidence V.
- Growth factors
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Molecular therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine