This will help SO MANY people, if it ever gets off the ground. Fingers are crossed.
The intervertebral disc is a cartilage that cushions the stress forces on the spine and enables the normal rotation of the spine. With advancing age, there is progressive loss of the proteoglycan material that gives the disc its properties, and a consequent increased risk of damage to the spine. This process, termed degenerative disc disease (DDD), affects between 15 and 45% of the population.
Preclinical trials showed that a single, low dose of Mesoblast’s allogeneic adult stem cells into severely damaged intervertebral discs resulted in dramatic reversal of the degenerative process, regrowth of disc cartilage and sustained normalization of disc pathology, anatomy and function.
Since spinal surgery is advocated only in severe cases of DDD, out of the 4.5 million people only 500,000 would be considered candidates for surgery. This creates a gap of about 4 million people who are currently left untreated. These patients experiencing mild to moderate DDD are normally treated with conservative procedures with significant associated morbidity and reduced productivity, until the condition worsens to a degree that warrants spinal surgery.
Since MPCs produce the proteoglycan materials found in discs, Mesoblast envisages that the injection of MPCs into a degenerated intervertebral disc will lead to replacement of the proteoglycan of cartilage. This approach, with its anticipated ease of application and lack of side-effects, should offer a relatively non-invasive and cost-effective therapy for patients with moderate or severe degenerative disc disease.