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Stem Cell Repair -

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Stem Cells Repair

(25/06/2009)

TRANSCRIPT

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For extended interviews and footage, click here to visit our exclusive online edition of Stem Cells

NARRATION:

Victoria's Torquay is famous for its surfing. But its fame today is, being home to a man who will
be the first in Australia to take part in an exciting new stem cell trail. Ryan Ogden's in a trial
to inject stem cells into the knee, to stop the cartilage breaking down and prevent arthritis.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS:

It's a pretty big day for you today.

RYAN OGDEN:

Yeah, it's a massive day. If it's successful it's going to do amazing things for the treatment of
arthritis - and help me out too.

NARRATION:

Whether caused by sport or bad genes, one in three people end up with arthritis, so many of us
might benefit from an injection of stem cells. But in this first trial only those who have recently
had knee reconstructions are eligible.

Ryan had his anterior cruciate ligament repaired. Tendons were taken from his hamstring and put in
his knee to stand in for the damaged ligament.

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

So this is the gracilis tendon here. So that's one of the tendons we'll use. We'll just persuade
that a little bit more.

NARRATION:

This surgery is highly successful and will get Ryan back to football and surfing...but waiting in the
wings will be arthritis in his knee...because of subtle damage.

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

Well Graham the important structures in the knee with regards to arthritis is this kind of shiny
white surface, and that's like a shock absorber which protects the underlying bone.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS:

So what's this surface made of?

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

It's called hyaline cartilage. It's a very specialised tissue. Once it's damaged or once it wears
out you don't get another lot.

NARRATION:

The hope is, stem cells can change that. Arthritis can result from invisible damage to the
cartilage during a knee injury.

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

What we're saying is, with this injury this stuff is damaged but you can't tell.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS:

So that looks to the eye completely healthy tissue

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

There will be damage there that's microscopic. Like the boxer that's been knocked unconscious. He
looks normal but his head's not functioning.

NARRATION:

With time that invisible damage leads to arthritis because the enamel-like hyaline cartilage
gradually breaks down.

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

With arthritis, what happens is if you like, you get some cracking in the enamel and when it gets
cracks in it doesn't absorb the shock quite so well. And then the natural history of that is if
you're unlucky and it progresses, then the underlying bone is exposed.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS:

That looks painful

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

That's what causes pain.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS:

And that takes decades for that to wear away.

DR ANDREW SHIMMIN:

It's a very, very slow process.

NARRATION:

An injection of stem cells will hopefully slow the degradation.