Posts Tagged ‘stem cell therapy’

Emory Sports Medicine Center Searching for Relief from Osteoarthritis in the Knee

osteoarthritis of the kneeAnyone who suffers from painful osteoarthritis of the knee knows how debilitating the condition can be. Joint stiffness, swelling and pain progress over time as cartilage wears away. Eventually, simple activities, like walking or kneeling, become intensely painful. Lifestyle modification, medication and steroid injections may help alleviate symptoms for some people, but these treatments also carry some risk. Many patients, short of a total knee replacement, are out of options. To address the problem, researchers at Emory Healthcare’s Emory Sports Medicine Center have begun a study to investigate ways in which various cellular therapies may provide relief for this ever-growing population.

The idea behind stem cell therapy is that live cells can be transferred to a patient in hopes of improving symptoms or lessening a disease process. While there have been patients in the past who have experienced positive outcomes, the science has not been refined enough to predictably replicate consistent results.

“Stem cell therapies hold great promise in sports medicine but very little has been proven,” said Ken Mautner, MD, associate professor and director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at Emory Sports Medicine Center. “We want to change that.”

Clinical Trial

Dr. Mautner is the principal investigator at Emory Sports Medicine for the Multicenter Trial of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis, or “MILES.” It is the first of its kind and focuses on the basic science of stem cells to treat patients with chronic osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers will treat and monitor people enrolled in the trial over the course of one year. They hope a combination of patient-reported outcomes, cellular and joint fluid analysis, and MRI reviews will help identify ways to alleviate symptoms and stop the progression of arthritis in order to avoid or delay the need for knee replacement.

Study subjects will be randomly chosen to receive one of four treatments and will not know if they are getting the actual stem cells or a simple corticosteroid injection. Corticosteroids are the current gold standard in treating osteoarthritis. Therefore, this group will act as a barometer for success as results of the stem cell treatments take shape.

Other subjects will be assigned to one of three groups that will each receive a specific type of stem cell injection periodically throughout the year. One injection will be derived from a subject’s own bone marrow, another from their abdominal fat, and a third from donated human umbilical cord tissue cells. All treatments for people enrolled at Emory Healthcare will be conducted at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven with a local numbing medication.

After each treatment, study subjects will be asked to complete questionnaires to describe how they are feeling, document pain levels, and chronicle any changes in functionality of the knee. Meanwhile, doctors will review MRIs (patients will have three over the course of the year) to see if there are any changes or improvements in the cartilage. Plus, researchers will look at eight different markers in the subjects’ knee fluid. They will analyze the cells and note any positive responses over the course of treatment.

“We aren’t promising subjects any specific result,” Dr. Mautner said. “We need to test all of the different treatments to see if we can identify a superior source of stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis and validate its advantages over corticosteroid injections.”

While Emory Healthcare initiated the MILES clinical trial, several other institutions will play a role in its success, including Duke University, Sanford Health, Georgia Tech, and Andrews Institute. The Marcus Foundation announced last year it will fund the study with a $13 million grant.

Clinical Trial Participation

Anyone interested in participating in the study is encouraged to enroll for a pre-screening process to see if he/she qualifies for enrollment. To learn more, visit or contact Tiffany Dumas, clinical research coordinator with Emory Sports Medicine Center, at 404-778-7881 or


Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine to offer stem cell therapy in Johns Creek to treat arthritis pain

arthritis_520Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine will start offering stem cell therapy at Emory Johns Creek Hospital in July to treat osteoarthritis.

Emory Healthcare sports medicine physician, Oluseun Olufade, MD, says he begins the treatment by applying a numbing medicine to the patient’s hip or stomach area and extracts cells from the patient’s bone marrow or adipose tissue. The stem cells are then separated using a centrifuge machine to provide a concentrated sample to inject into the patient’s damaged joint. Since the stem cells are from the patient’s own body, the rejection risk is low.

How can stem cell injections help me?

This treatment can reduce pain and provide long-lasting relief from chronic tendinitis, arthritis and cartilage damage in the joint.

“Stem cells harness the power of your own body and work to actually repair your damaged tissue,” says Olufade.

What is arthritis?

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints and affects 27 million Americans. The degenerative joint disease causes cartilage to wear down, bones to rub against one another and leads to stiffness and pain. Risk factors like age, obesity, previous joint injury and genetics contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis.

Alternative to surgery

Olufade, who is also an assistant professor in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation says stem cell therapy offers another alternative to patients who are facing joint-replacement surgery.

“Some patients who are seeking stem cell treatment have already tried physical therapy, cortisone shots, viscosupplementation and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections without much success,” says Olufade.

How should I prepare for my treatment?

Patients should stop taking anti-inflammatory medication seven days before their injection. You shouldn’t take Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve and Naprosyn. Remember to tell your doctor if you are on any blood thinning medications. You should also drink as much water as you can on the day of your injection.

What can I expect afterwards?

Olufade says patients who undergo stem cell injections should expect to experience soreness for a few days, but many return to their normal activities shortly after the procedure. You may resume physical therapy one week after the treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you experience unbearable pain, bleeding, or signs of infection, such as streaking, fever, or chills.

More information

The treatment is not covered by most medical insurance. Visit to learn more about stem cell injections or call 404-778-8081 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Olufade.

About Dr. Olufade

olufade-oluseunDr. Olufade is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has served as team physician, both in the professional MLS ranks with Philadelphia Union, and as a member of the U.S. national team physician pool. He has covered the U.S. 17-year-old men’s national team in international matches in France and Turkey.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class. He is currently the Vice President for John Creek Healthcare Association. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences

Understanding Osteoarthritis

OsteoarthritisWhile “arthritis” is a commonly known disease, it is generally misunderstood. In fact, arthritis is not a single disease, rather a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA), which is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Unlike other forms of inflammatory arthritis, OA is most common in older adults. It occurs when cartilage, the smooth, rubbery material that cushions each bone becomes thinned, damaged or worn away. The “wearing down” of cartilage leads to pain, swelling and joint stiffness, and as the disease continues to worsen over time, bone rubbing against bone can lead to joint damage and more intense pain.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but mostly affects the knees, hips, hands and spine joints. While the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown and there is no cure, there are ways to relieve symptoms and improve joint function for those suffering from the disease:

  • Exercise! Just 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week (150 minutes in total) can help significantly reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility in as little as four to six weeks. If you cannot fit in a whole 30 minutes, try breaking your exercise into three, 10-minute increments throughout the day. Any physical activity is better than none!
  • Be SMART when it comes to physical activity:
    • Start low and go slow. Begin with three to five minutes of physical activity twice a day and add activity in small amounts to allow your body to adjust.
    • Modify activity if arthritis symptoms increase, but try to stay active.
    • Activities should be low impact, such as walking, bicycling, water aerobics or dancing.
    • Recognize safe and effective ways to be active. Consider exercise classes designed for people with arthritis. When planning your own activity, make sure to choose safe locations with sidewalks/pathways that are level (e.g., a neighborhood or park).
    • Talk with your healthcare provider to help monitor chronic osteoarthritis symptoms.
  • Watch your weight. If you are overweight, losing one pound can take four pounds of pressure off your knee joints! A weight loss of five percent helps reduce joint pain. Maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity are also beneficial with other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, which often affect those with OA.
  • Eat right. While there is no specific diet for people with arthritis, studies have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system. Incorporating foods often found in the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables, fruit and olive oil, have been found to promote good joint health.

Can osteoarthritis be prevented? Learn more about risk factors for osteoarthritis >>

Find the right physician

If you are experiencing severe pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints, it may be time to see one of the physicians at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Related Resources

About Dr. Mason

Amadeus Mason, MDAmadeus Mason, MD, is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University.

He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, orthopedic stem cell therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track & Field, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He is an annual speaker at the pre-race expo for PTRR, Publix marathon and Atlanta marathon commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.