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LOS ANGELES — Here in this hotspot for unregulated stem cell clinics, you don’t have to drive far to find a doctor offering unproven treatments for a bum knee involving stem cells derived from a patient’s own fat.

In his lab here at the University of Southern California, Dr. Denis Evseenko wants to tackle knee problems with stem cells, too — but he’s a world away in his philosophy. He’s taking a stab at something much more ambitious. And he’s doing it by the book.


Evseenko has developed a method to use embryonic stem cells to generate cartilage cells that can be preserved and stockpiled. When tiny spheres packed with these cells have been injected into localized lesions in the knees of rats, they’ve shown promise by maturing into different types of healthy cartilage. And Evseenko’s gearing up for a trial in which he’s hoping to see the same encouraging results in pigs’ knees.

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