Home > Back Pain & Work > Stem Cell Repair and Back Problems

Stem Cell Repair and Back Problems

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 25 Jan 2018 |
 
Back Pain Stem Cells Intervertebral

For the estimated 10 million Britons suffering from lower back pain every year, news of a potential permanent cure could bring hope for a pain-free future. Researchers at Manchester University’s Division of Regenerative Medicine are currently running clinical trials in people with back pain to test a revolutionary treatment that could repair damaged intervertebral discs. The treatment uses stem cells (the master cells from which all the body’s specialist cells are created) taken from the sufferer’s own bone marrow to repair the damage.

Off Work and in the Waiting Room

Lower back pain is a common problem in the United Kingdom and worldwide, and it is estimated that 80% of adults in the UK will suffer back pain at least once at some point in their life. In fact, one in five people will visit their doctor in any given year because of back pain from a range of different causes. Around 4.9 million work days are lost through back-related pain every year and treatments for back problems, including pain killers, physiotherapy and surgery, cost the NHS around £481 million a year. Added to this is the cost of over-the-counter remedies and alternative treatments. This is a huge amount of money for treatments that, as back pain sufferers will know, usually only tackle the symptoms and provide temporary relief from what can often be crippling pain that disrupts work, social and family life.

Cause and Effect

The spine is very complex. It is made up of 24 small bones called the vertebrae. In between each pair of vertebrae lies an intervertebral disc. These spongy discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible. Structured a bit like small round cushions, the discs have a flexible and strong outer layer called the annulus fibrosus and a squashy interior gel called the nucleus polposus. When a disc is damaged, by trauma, disease or just ongoing wear-and-tear, the annulus fibrosus may split allowing some or all of the gel to squeeze out (often called a slipped, herniated or ruptured disc). The resulting pain and disability can be short-lived (acute) or long term (chronic). As intervertebral discs cannot repair themselves, an acute back problem can often become a chronic one when it is not possible to tackle the cause of the problem.

A Complete Cure?

The revolutionary new treatment based on stem cells, pioneered by Dr Stephen Richardson at Manchester University, may turn out to offer a permanent cure for back pain related to damaged intervertebral discs. For over five years, and backed with funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign, he and his colleagues at the Division of Regenerative Medicine have been developing a way of using cells from the body to regenerate the nucleus polposus in the damaged intervertebral discs. The treatment involves taking mesenchymal cells, a type of stem cell, from the sufferer’s own bone marrow and growing them in a culture. Using a patented method of differentiation (when an unspecialised cell becomes specialised) the mesenchymal cells can develop into nucleus polposus cells. These new specialist cells are then embedded into a completely natural collagen gel, specially developed for the purpose by the German biotechnology company, Arthrokinetics. Using an arthroscope – a tube through which a camera and surgical instruments can be inserted – the gel containing the new cells is inserted between the affected vertebrae where the cells can then grow and multiply, creating a new nucleus polposus.

This breakthrough treatment is exciting for back pain sufferers, where the pain is caused by damaged intervertebral discs. The cure could well be permanent, allowing a return to a pain-free life. Because this form of surgery causes minimal damage to the skin and other tissues, recovery can be very quick with the chance of going home on the same or the next day. Surgery that uses implants often causes concern because there is a risk that the implant could be rejected by the body’s immune system. In this case, though, the cells are taken from the sufferers own body and so are instantly recognised and accepted. The same goes for the completely natural collagen gel.

Hope for the Future

It may only be a matter of years before intervertebral disc damage can be permanently repaired using Dr Stephen Richardson’s pioneering disc-repair treatment. The first stages of research and testing are now completed and clinical trials on humans are underway. This means that there is light at the end of the tunnel for sufferers of lower back pain, not to mention huge savings for the United Kingdom’s beleaguered NHS.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Dear all can you please let me know where are we with this new treatment from Arthrokinetics? Are we already in phase 3? Is there a forecast for final approval? Thanks a lot and regards Marco
Marco Caravati - 25-Jan-18 @ 8:12 PM
Daz - Your Question:
Hello I would be very keen to do clinical trials on my degenerative disc which has been causing me terrible pain then new stem cell clinical trials for this seem to be the answer how do I go about applying for this id be very grateful for more info thanking you darren cliff

Our Response:
We don't arrange anything like this unfortunately. We only provide information related to back pain. You'd be advised to either contact universities directly or see whether your GP/Consultant is able to recommend you for one of these trials.
BackPainExpert - 11-Sep-15 @ 10:39 AM
Hello i would be very keen to do clinical trials on my degenerative disc which has been causing me terrible pain then new stem cell clinical trials for this seem to be the answer how do i go about applying for this id be very grateful for more info thanking you darren cliff
Daz - 10-Sep-15 @ 5:45 AM
I am 44 and have had 3 microdiscectomies. I have sciatica, leg numbness, constant pain/discomfort and have no real quality of life. I would also be interested in taking part in an NHS trial. How do I find details please?
Pam - 19-Jul-15 @ 11:04 PM
Hello, My story is quiet simple. I have had 2 micro-discectomy operations and 2 spinal injections over 3 years. I am 53 with a hope for at least another 30 years before the rest of my body packs in. I have seen no real improvement over time and wonder if this stem cell technology is available via a trial via the NHS etc. How do I get involved? Many Thanks David
David - 17-Jul-15 @ 3:46 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Marco Caravati
    Re: Stem Cell Repair and Back Problems
    Dear all can you please let me know where are we with this new treatment from Arthrokinetics? Are we already in phase…
    25 January 2018
  • Robino
    Re: Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Tumours
    MSCC Hi I've finally had a Cervical MRI for never ending right neck/shoulder pain with accompanying pins & needles.…
    6 January 2018
  • Daryl
    Re: Spinal Dislocation
    I have chronic lower back pain due to a dislocated vertebrae witch is fused to a second vertebrae in witch is rubbing on a therd due to an old…
    1 January 2018
  • BackPainExpert
    Re: Back Pain and Hernia
    Janet - Your Question:I've had hernia surgery 4th of December 2017, they called it a Ventral hernia. Well I've been dealing wit horrible…
    11 December 2017
  • Janet
    Re: Back Pain and Hernia
    I've had hernia surgery 4th of December 2017, they called it a Ventral hernia. Well I've been dealing wit horrible lower back pain that has…
    10 December 2017
  • Harry
    Re: Dehydrated Discs
    Dear can anybody tell me what happens with me When i bend forward to push flush of washroom then i experience some force pull me forward and after…
    6 December 2017
  • motorman
    Re: Tilted Pelvis
    I have now been suffering realy bad diabolical pain in my right hip & down my leg & i have used just about all the gels that are available, plus lots…
    13 November 2017
  • Grumpygran
    Re: Cauda Equina Syndrome
    I have small herniatios of l4 l5 with probable compression of Cauda Equina . This was an unexpected finding as the MRI was done because of…
    29 September 2017
  • Jsisjd
    Re: A Spinal Tap Caused My Back Pain
    I had suicidal back pain and leg pain for 7-8 months after a spinal tap until the pain slowly subsided. Today 1 year later, i…
    1 September 2017
  • BLONDIE
    Re: Who is at Risk of Developmental Back Pain?
    Just want to let you all know that I find the medical info on ligaments and back problems to be very informative…
    12 August 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the BackPainExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.