SCT bone on bone

Stem Cell Therapy for Bone on Bone Knee | Research Update


Revision Knee Surgery

Dr. Marc Darrow Stem Cell Therapy

In recent research, doctors followed patients for five years and found that five years after treatment – stem cell treated knees were still better than before treatment.1 In a second study doctors in China announced that in their animal studies, stem cells injected into the site of a bone fracture, promoted rapid and accelerated bone healing. The implications of the above research can help revolutionize the way standardized medicine addresses problems of bone degeneration and necrosis (bone death).

When the doctor says you have “bone-on-bone,” it can be used as an umbrella term to describe various levels of knee degeneration. In the knee joint, cartilage protects the shinbone, the thighbone, and the back of the knee cap – the patella. In addition to this cushion is the thick meniscus – the padding between the bones. A healthy knee has all its surfaces glide smoothly atop these cartilages for pain free, efficient, and in the case of athletics – explosive movement.

“Bone-on-bone” means one, some, or all the cartilage and/or the meniscus has defects or “holes” in them.

Frequently these holes go all the way down to the bone and thus – painful, debilitating “bone-on-bone” osteoarthritis develops.

Many times a patient will assume that “bone-on-bone” means extreme or advanced deterioration, many times that is not the case at all.


When to consider Stem Cell Therapy for Bone on Bone Knee?

When a patient asks us this question we respond by saying that following a physical examination we discuss our non-surgical treatment methods including ProlotherapyPlatelet Rich Plasma Therapy, and Stem Cell Therapy. In minor deterioration, sometimes we start with simple dextrose. In advanced deterioration we may employ both PRP and stem cells.

When stem cells are recommended, we draw stem cells from you. Stem cells have the ability to “morph” into a variety of cell types including: osteoblasts (bone cells) and chondrocytes (cartilage cells). So it is understandable why so much research and effort are being put into this alternative to knee surgery.​

Stem Cell Therapy for Cartilage Regeneration

Rebuilding cartilage in severe osteoarthritis is considered one of the great challenges in orthropedic medicine. A recent medical paper sums it up:

“Drug interventions and surgical treatments have been widely attempted for cartilage regeneration in osteoarthritis. However, the results were largely unsatisfactory. Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) or matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) offers potential for the regeneration of cartilage over the long-term.

However, due to the limitations and disadvantages of ACI, alternative therapies for cartilage regeneration are in need.

The availability of large quantities of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and the multilineage differentiation (the morphing ability), especially their chondrogenic (for cartilage) differentiation property, have made MSCs the most promising cell source for cartilage regeneration.” 2

“MSCs can modulate the immune response of individuals and positively influence the microenvironment of the stem cells already present in the diseased tissue.” 3

In other words, spark a new healing cascade for advanced osteoarthric cases.

Stem Cell Therapy for Bone Regeneration

Researchers are looking at the osteoblasts, specialized mesenchyme-derived (stem) cells accountable for bone synthesis, remodelling and healing. What they are finding is that these cells rebuild bones through various mechanisms including cell homing or cell signalling. This is where stem cells communicate with the surrounding tissue to help them navigate to the site of the wound and differentiate themselves into the material to build bone.4 Other research suggests positive results even in cases of Avascular necrosis.5 Researchers in China announced that in their animal studies, stem cell injections accelerated bone healing and the further research should investigate stem cell injections for fractures of the bone.6

Should you consider stem cell therapy for your bone-on-bone? The Darrow Wellness Institute has long been recognized for utilizing advanced, non-surgical options for degenerative joint disease including Stem Cell Therapy. Stem Cell Therapy, like Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy are designed to stimulate the immune system to heal and rebuild damaged joints without the significant risks that surgeries, joint replacement, or other invasive procedures come with.

    1. Davatchi F, Sadeghi Abdollahi B, Mohyeddin M, Nikbin B. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis: 5 years follow-up of three patients. Int J Rheum Dis. 2015 May 20. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12670. [Epub ahead of print]
    1. Qi Y, Yan W. Mesenchymal stem cell sheet encapsulated cartilage debris provides great potential for cartilage defects repair in osteoarthritis. Med Hypotheses. 2012 Sep;79(3):420-1. Epub 2012 Jun 1.
    1. Qi Y, Feng G, Yan W. Mesenchymal stem cell-based treatment for cartilage defects in osteoarthritis. Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):5683-9. Epub 2011 Dec 20.
    1. Titorencu I, Pruna V, Jinga VV, Simionescu M. Osteoblast ontogeny and implications for bone pathology: an overview. Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Jan;355(1):23-33. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1750-3. Epub 2013 Nov 29.


    1. Calori GM, Mazza E, Colombo M, Mazzola S, Mineo GV, Giannoudis PV. Treatment of AVN using the induction chamber technique and a biological-based approach: Indications and clinical results. Injury. 2013 Sep 19. pii: S0020-1383(13)00423-3. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2013.09.014. [Epub ahead of print


  1. Huang S, Xu L, Zhang Y, Sun Y, Li G. Systemic and local administration of allogeneic bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells promotes fracture healing in rats. Cell Transplant. 2015 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print]​