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Center Studies New Cell Treatments for Orthopaedic Conditions

Cedars-Sinai Initiative to Investigate Use of Orthobiologics to Heal Muscular-Skeletal Conditions Such as Osteoarthritis

Orthopaedic surgeons increasingly rely on new therapies to treat a range of muscular-skeletal conditions. But surgeons do not always agree on the use or effectiveness of the treatments that include stem cells and platelet-rich plasma.

Now a center, comprised of surgeons and investigators at Cedars-Sinai, is studying which therapies are most beneficial for various orthopaedic ailments. The new multidisciplinary center, known as the Regenerative Orthobiologics Center, will evaluate data related to orthobiologics and patient outcomes to identify the best treatment options.

Orthobiologics are cells and substances naturally found in the human body and are commonly used by orthopaedic surgeons to help injuries heal more quickly.

"We already know a lot about what works when it comes to orthobiologic therapies. However, in some cases, there are still many unknowns—with minimal evidence to support its use in every patient case," said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and co-director of the Regenerative Orthobiologics Center.

The team will focus initially on osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease and leading cause of chronic joint pain and disability. The use of orthobiologics has emerged as a potential option for treating this condition and become a significant tool of modern orthopaedic surgical practices.

"Although the use of orthobiologics in osteoarthritis has shown to stimulate healing in various studies, there is no clear consensus over the best biologic substance in use," said Bert Mandelbaum, MD, co-director of the Regenerative Orthobiologics Center and co-chair of Medical Affairs at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. "It is our clinical responsibility to explore in a methodical and comprehensive way the variable components of platelet-rich plasma injections and other orthobiologic treatments to identify the best treatment options for our patients." 

The new center brings together medical and scientific experts from a range of disciplines, including regenerative medicine, sports medicine, anesthesia and spine surgery. Among the leaders are Dmitriy Sheyn, PhD, research scientist; Mark Vrahas, MD, chair of Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedics and Steven Shin, MD, executive vice chair and director of clinical operations of Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedics.

Vrahas said he hopes the work of the new center ultimately will help medical professionals and patients differentiate proven treatments from those that lack scientific evidence.

"The goal of our work is to provide our patients with new treatments that are grounded in science," Vrahas said. "We are committed to ensuring the highest quality of care and making lives better by doing research to move the field forward."

Read more in Discoveries: Stem Cell Science: Separating Myth from Reality