This world first sounds far-fetched & futuristic, but it's now reality.More stories from Today Tonight
It’s the latest cutting edge treatment for Arthritis. Stem cells from fat are used to regenerate and heal arthritic joints.
Macquarie university associate professor, Dr Ben Herbert, is the co-founder of Regeneus, the company that developed this brand new HiQ Cell procedure.
"Fat is considered something bad, you don’t want it and you should get rid of it. So if you can get rid of it and make your leg better at the same time, people see it as incredible," Dr Herbert said.
"You need about a cup of fat. You process that fat, from maybe that cup full, down to a teaspoon full of cells and then those cells are reintroduced, injected into the damaged tendon or joint. It’s very quick, you don’t add anything, you don’t subtract anything - it’s a straight forward procedure."
"These cells are really, if you like, implantable drug factories. They go into the joint and they receive these signals of pain and inflammation and they turn down that pain. What they’re saying to the tissue inside the joint is, 'We can repair this damage'."
Currently, the majority of researchers applying stem cell treatments to arthritis are growing stem cells in a lab. Regenus says their approach is different - that is, stem cells can be harvested and placed into a patient in an hour-and-a-half.
With nearly four million sufferers in Australia, arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain. It estimated to cost the nation $24 billion each year.
Osteoarthritis sufferer Nigel Thomas is a success story. He says the results outweigh any initial pain felt in the liposuction procedure.
Rugby player John Clarkson, 26, was facing a knee reconstruction but four months since undergoing the procedure he’s back to running pain free.
Plastic surgeon Dr Miroshnik is involved in the harvesting of the fat. He says the technique used is different from standard liposuction.
"We can’t risk any contamination, not even a single bacteria. Normally it would take a couple of minutes to harvest 200g of fat, however with all the sterile preparation and the technique we use, it takes an hour all up."
Dr Donald Kuah is a specialist sports and exercise physician. He's already treated 17 patients.
“It’s really not for the end stage arthritis, not designed for the people where you’re needing total hip or knee replacements next month. Its for the middle aged who have some arthritis," Dr Kuah said.Contact details
- For more information visit www.regeneus.com.au
- You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 2 9499 8010
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