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Study evaluates stem cell treatment used in eye surgery

Orthopedic physicians at Rush are studying whether a remarkable treatment that’s been used in eye surgery for the past decade also can help alleviate osteoarthritis in the knees. Rush is the only medical center in Illinois and one of seven centers in the U.S. offering the new therapy.

Eye-Opening Treatment for Knee Arthritis

The doctors are analyzing the effectiveness of a new form of biologic stem cell therapy that combines components of amniotic membrane tissue and amniotic fluid. Amniotic membrane is the inner layer of the placenta, and amniotic fluid is the fluid surrounding a fetus in the uterus. Both are a natural byproduct of childbirth, and the tissues and cells used in this treatment are harvested in the course of healthy, elective cesarean sections.

Amniotic fluid includes hyaluronic acid, which is commonly known as rooster comb or “gel injections” that are currently available. In addition to this, there is a cellular component that acts as an anti-inflammatory.

“Amniotic membrane has been shown to potentially increase tissue healing and decrease inflammation,” says Adam Yanke, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush and the principal investigator of the study. “We also know from past studies that it is safe and that patients’ bodies do not reject the donor stem cells.”

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