A2M Treatment for Arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA), also referred to as degenerative joint disease or sometimes “wear and tear” arthritis, is the most prevalent chronic condition of the joints. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 30 million people are living with this disease according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While the exact causes of OA are still unknown, your genetics, age, weight, joint injury or overuse may all contribute to the development of the condition.
In normal and healthy joints, cartilage serves as a flexible, protective cushion that prevents the end of your bones from rubbing together as well as a smooth surface for joint movements without friction. OA causes the cartilage within a joint to slowly and gradually breakdown, resulting in chronic pain, stiffness or swelling in the affected area. In some cases, OA can alter the underlying bones, decrease your overall range of motion or even make the most simple, everyday tasks impossible.
The U.S. healthcare industry bills millions of dollars every year for patients managing the ongoing symptoms of OA in the hands, knees, back, hips and other locations. While there are a handful of effective treatments available for alleviating pain and inflammation associated with OA until recently the only hope many had for reversing or replacing degenerated joints was through invasive joint surgery or drastic lifestyle changes. Today, All Star Pain Management is at the forefront of a revolutionary new regenerative treatment known as A2M therapy. Delivered via injections directly into the damaged joint, A2M not only eases the symptoms associated with OA but is the first biologic treatment for the condition that works to stop the progression of the disease.
What is A2M Therapy?
To understand how A2M therapy works, it is essential first to understand how OA affects the joints. For reasons the medical community does not yet understand, OA causes an inflammatory process to occur where cytokines (also known as proteins) and enzymes are mass produced in the body to break down the cartilage of an affected joint further. These catabolic or destructive proteins are referred to as proteases. Proteases are highly destructive, and function within the body to break down chemicals or enzymes it no longer needs. With OA, proteases work to slowly eat away at the protective cartilage around the bones that eventually results in significant and limiting joint pain.
Unlike any other treatments available today, A2M therapy works to stop the progression of OA on a molecular level. FDA-approved for clinical trials in 2014, A2M injections are scientifically-proven to effectively prevent further joint deterioration by supporting tissue regeneration and naturally removing damaging proteases from the joint. In this way, A2M injections work not only as a therapeutic agent for reducing discomfort and swelling within the arthritic joint but also as the first-of-its-kind preventative treatment for arthritis and other chronic joint conditions.
A2M, otherwise known as Alpha 2 Macroglobulin, is a large and naturally-occurring protein produced in the liver and travels through the bloodstream to various organs in the body. While A2M has many roles within the body, its primary function is to counteract and eliminate proteases. Unfortunately, the A2M that occurs naturally in your body is insufficient at halting the progression of OA on its own due to being too large navigate to the affected joint in high enough quantities.
Fortunately, a team of researchers at Cytonics, Corp. led by Dr. Scuderi have developed a highly effective method of collecting A2M from a small sample of your blood to deliver it directly into your damaged joint via injection. This process is referred to as “Autologous Platelet Integrated Concentration System” or simply APIC PRP. It is the only method available today that concentrates the A2M in your blood 9 to 10 times the average amount while minimizing platelets, white blood cells and additional proteins. Once injected into the joint, high levels of A2M work to neutralize and trap harmful proteases that contribute to OA, thus stopping the damage of the condition.
Who Can Benefit From A2M Therapy?
As both a therapeutic and preventive regenerative treatment, A2M injection therapy is hugely beneficial to anyone living with mild to moderate OA or other cartilage-related conditions. Since A2M only works to inhibit proteases and slow or stop further destruction, it is not an ideal treatment for those whose joint has reached a point of total degradation or “end-stage arthritis”. If you are struggling with any of the following conditions as a result of OA, A2M therapy may be right for you:
- Chronic pain or aching
- Decreased range of motion or flexibility
Additionally, A2M injection therapy may be used for other degenerative joint conditions to prevent further cartilage breakdown, promote new tissue growth and support the overall regeneration of an affected joint. If any of the following conditions are interfering with your quality of life and well-being, A2M therapy may be able to help stop the destruction of your disease in its tracks:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Discogenic spine pain
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Other cartilage-related or orthopedic conditions
While A2M therapy is not yet covered on health insurance plans, it is currently the only biologic treatment available for arthritic conditions that will stop and prevents future damage. To determine if A2M therapy would be beneficial to you and your health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Zed of All Star Pain Management today.
When Can I Expect Results From A2M Therapy?
The results of your A2M therapy can typically be observed within several hours or days of receiving your injection. As a safe and minimally-invasive treatment, most patients can immediately resume their normal activities without the need for downtime. While the longevity of the relief experienced as well as the overall results of A2M therapy will vary by the patient and the condition of their disease, many will start to feel their pain diminish in as little as 48 hours. The results of A2M are long-lasting compared to other methods of pain management, with a majority of patients only requiring an injection once every 6 to 12 months and potentially even longer term effects when combined with other regenerative procedures like PRP and Bone Marrow Concentrate.
Millions of individuals with osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint conditions struggle to maintain normalcy in their day-to-day lives due to painful and destructive symptoms. If you are one of those millions, A2M is a cutting-edge new regenerative therapy that not only offers patients long-term relief from pain but also protects your joints from further damage. If you’d like to learn more about this exciting new treatment, contact All Star Pain Management and Regenerative Medicine today at 443.808.1808 to schedule your consultation.
- Montesano PX, Cuellar JM, Scuderi GJ (2017). Intradiscal Injection of an Autologous Alpha-2Macroglobulin (A2M) Concentrate Alleviates Back Pain in FAC-Positive Patients. Ortho & Rheum, 4(2).
- Scuderi GJ, Golish SR, Cook FF, Cuellar JM, et al. (2011). Identification of a novel fibronectin-aggrecan complex in the synovial fluid of knees with painful meniscal injury. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 93(4):336-340.
- Wang, S., Wei, X., Zhou, J., Zhang, J., et. al. Identification of α2-Macroglobulin as a Master Inhibitor of Cartilage-Degrading Factors that Attenuates the Progression of Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatology 66.7 (2014): 1843-1853.
All Star Pain Management and Regenerative Medicine proudly serves the Annapolis, Greater Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.