Findings from a recent clinical trial suggest that an injection of placenta cells may dramatically reduce pain caused by arthritis. The researchers believe that the pain reducing effects of the injection may last for up to a year.
The treatment studied in the trial is called ReNu. It was developed by British-US biotechnology firm Organogensis. It uses cells obtained from a part of the placenta called the amnion. This tissue can be easily obtained as it is normally discarded after a child has been born.
Researchers have known for many years that the amnion has regenerative and analgesic properties. However, this is the first large scale trial to prove it can be used successfully to receive arthritis pain.
Of the 200 patients involved in the trial, 69% saw a meaningful improvement in symptoms and 63% noticed an improvement after a single injection of ReNu. Another clinical trial involving 700 people is already underway to compare the treatment against a placebo.
The placenta is a remarkable organ that contains many powerful stem cells and growth factors which can be used to formulate treatments. In fact, doctors have been using the amnion for over 100 years to treat wounds and improve healing.
The placebo also contains anti-inflammatory proteins, which can tell the body that it is damaged or diseased and needs to be repaired. These proteins contain three important components: hyaluronic acid, collagen, and fibronectin.
These anti-inflammatory have been found to enhance healing by encouraging the reproduction of tissues, including cartilage and muscle. This is very important for arthritis sufferers, as arthritic inflammation can cause damage to cartilage.
An injection of the treatment rejuvenates cartilage that has been affected by arthritis, reducing the pain that occurs from bone-to-bone contact in the joints. The researchers are very excited about the upcoming trial and the prospect of getting this product to market in the near future.