What is Osteoarthritis and how stem cells are being used to combat this painful illness?

Osteoarthritis is a painful, progressive illness which affects the joints; it is caused by the degeneration of cartilage.  Cartilage is a tissue which covers the ends of joints to allow the bones to glide easily and prevent them from grinding together.

It is difficult to state the exact number of people suffering from osteoarthritis, milder symptomatic sufferers do not tend to seek medical attention or rely on over the counter treatments to soothe their pain. It is estimated that over 8 million people in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis, with women over the age of 50 most likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.  Accidental damage is the most common cause of osteoarthritis in those under 35 years of age.[1]

The NHS Executive has calculated the annual cost of Osteoarthritis at £320 million.[2]

Over the course of the week we will be asking “What is Osteoarthritis?” and “What are the risk factors of Osteoarthritis?”  We will hear about the experiences of those living with osteoarthritis and we will take a look at how stem cell research, tissue engineering and bio-printing are being used to help find a cure.

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