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How does cell therapy work?

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Prof Paul Lee - MSK Regeneration Blog on MSK Doctors

How does cell therapy work?

Cell therapy is often misunderstood as just a series of injections. While cell therapy certainly does involve injections, it’s much more than that.

The best way to think about cell therapy is to imagine that you’re repairing a patch of your garden. There is a patch of dead grass (the damaged cartilage in your knee) that you’d like to repair. If you just threw some seeds on top of the dead grass, this would be a bad idea. You need to remove the bad grass, get rid of the weeds, dig up the dry soil and put some new soil down. The seeds you scatter then need plenty of water and sunlight to grow.

Similarly, in the knee, there are several steps to the process. Diseased tissues need to be removed, the foundation needs to be rebuilt, external harmful forces need to be corrected, and proper nutrition and cells are also needed to enable the cell therapy process to happen. Eventually, new cartilage will grow and thrive in a healthy environment.

So cell therapy is a combination of therapies:

  • Hyaluronic acid – a man-made molecule that can improve the environment around the damaged cells and give them the nutrients they need to help them recover.

  • Cell therapy – the “seeds” we inject into the knee that can turn into healthy cartilage

  • Growth factors such as PRP – enhance the growth of cells

  • Bioscaffold – a living transplant made from your own cartilage cells that provides the structure you need in your knee

The Regeneration Man

Regeneration Man
The Regeneration Man

MBBch, MFSEM (UK), MSc (Sports Med), PhD (Med Engine), FEBOT, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

Consultant Sports and Arthroplasty Surgeon

MSK and Regeneration Medicine Doctor

Visiting Professor of Sports Medicine

I.C.R.S. teaching centre of excellence

Regional advisor Royal College of Surgeon Ed

Passionate about biology, engineering, computers and medicine.

Sports Muscle Injuries and Actovegin: Basics, Concepts and Future of Actovegin by Paul Y. F. Lee (2016-02-22)

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