Osteoarthritis stem cell


Story Details

Like one point five million Australians Ian Weeks and Illana Halliday have Osteoarthritis.

"I had the left one replaced my bionic knee as I refer to it, but $27,000 later I'm still in a lot of pain" Said Illana

"I was like a 90 year old man, almost ready for a wheelchair" Said Ian

The cartilage - the spongy, protective tissue in our joints - becomes thin and loses its ability to stretch and bend.

The bones in the joints can then start to rub against each other. Doctors don't know what causes it.

Sufferers manage their Osteoarthritis with strong pain killers, physiotherapy and light exercise.

When pain becomes unmanageable - the only option is joint replacement surgery.

But now a treatment using our OWN fat.

Dr Ralph Bright believes it holds the key and perhaps a cure.

"So Dr Bright what is this? This is the fat this is what we've taken from the patient it's a veritable bank of stem cells" Said Dr Ralph Bright

Dr Bright will harvest those stems cells.

And inject them back into a patient's body - where they will get to work repairing damaged tissue and cartilage.

"Can you cure someone with one injection of stem cells? Asked Reporter

"What we do see is that with osteoarthritis one injection will be enough to take away the pain take away the stiffness" Said Dr Bright

The treatment is called Ultrasonic cavitation and was developed in the US. Use liposuction picture - we shot some, but file might be better also YOUTUBE vision

It's a minor procedure done while a patient is awake.

A small amount of fat is removed using liposuction

The patient's own stem cells are then separated from the fat using an ultrasound, and injected into their body. use graphic animation here STEM CELLS YOUTUBE

"They will automatically hone to the areas of inflammation the areas of need and start doing the good work to repair and regenerate those tissues" Said Dr Bright and Reporter

Ian took part in Dr Bright's first trial.

He had stem cells extracted from his fat and injected into his right knee. Use shots of Dr Bright with Ian looking at this knee @

Within two months - he says - the pain went and never came back.

"Knee replacement was the last diagnosis I had before I had the stem cells BUTT I can't believe it I still can't believe it cause I am doing things now I can run I can hop I can do anything squat down on the ground" Said Ian Weeks

Illana had her stem cells harvested and injected into her right knee 18 months ago.

The former nurse was initially sceptical.

"I was very surprised to find that within days the pain was actually going or gone and I was able to move a whole lot more freely" Said Illana

"They certainly are the therapeutic miracle of this decade" Said Dr Bright

But miracles don't come cheap.

While the procedure is now available to anyone.

One round of treatment, which involves collecting the stem cells and injecting them back into the body costs $9000. floating $9000 over liposuction pictures

There is no guarantee how long the stem cells will work - it's different for every person

"I'm saving my pennies in case I need it - maybe in the future if I have to have it done I'll go to a bank manager and say I've got to do it." Said Ian

"As it becomes more and more simplified this will become a treatment for general practitioners your local gp will be able to do stem cell treatment for you" Said Dr Bright

"Stem Cells have just got to be the way of the future they're just amazing I can not believe the relief I've got" Said Illana


(02) 9824 3044