Main Line Rheumatology Becomes Main Line Rheumatology & Osteoporosis



October 28, 2019 Wynnewood, PA… Gary V. Gordon, MD, FACP, FACR, owner of Main Line Rheumatology practice, and chief of Rheumatology, Lankenau Medical Center, announces that Main Line Rheumatology is now called, Main Line Rheumatology & Osteoporosis.

Only our name has changed! The practice of Main Line Rheumatology & Osteoporosis is still independently owned, and its doctors, staff and office locations at Lankenau Medical Center, and Main Line Health Center, in Broomall remain the same.

Why the practice name change? Dr. Gary Gordon said, “Over the last number of years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of osteoporosis patients we see, and patients with osteopenia or other fracture risks. Osteoporosis has become our rheumatology practice’s largest growing sub-medical specialty. Adding “osteoporosis” to Main Line Rheumatology, creates a more defining description of our practice, today.”
Osteoporosis is a common rheumatology disease.

According to recent statistics from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is responsible for an estimated two million broken bones per year, yet nearly 80 percent of older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated for osteoporosis. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. One in two women, and up to one in four men over age 50, will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Dr. Gordon added, “Our doctors and staff are committed to treating our osteoporosis patients. I encourage individuals who have noticeable symptoms (i.e. back pain, fractured or collapsed vertebra, loss of height over time, stooped posture, or a bone that breaks much more easily than expected) to make an appointment with a rheumatologist for diagnosis. Pro-active testing and treatment could stave off fractures, or full-blown disease.”



New Hours!

To accommodate our patients, Main Line Rheumatology has increased its hours to better serve you!

Monday 9am – 5:30pm
Tuesday and Wednesday 8am- 4pm
Thursday 9am – 4pm
Friday 8am- 4pm

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday  9am – 4pm

Can Stem Cells Regenerate Damaged Cartilage in Osteoporosis?

If you have arthritis, you know about the term “bone on bone”. We tell patients that you cannot grow new cartilage once it is destroyed, whether from over or repetitive use, the natural aging process, or injury. Stories about stem therapy being used to treat osteoarthritis, an aggressive degenerative form of arthritis, are popular on the internet. But, can stem cells regenerate damaged cartilage with this disease? Maybe one day we can be cautiously optimistic, but for today, I am still skeptical.

Our understanding is that stem cells are the building blocks of all human tissue. Arthritis, or joint degeneration, is due to loss of the cartilage that cushions bones and the stem cell goal is to treat arthritis to regrow cartilage.

Stem cells that come from your own body and are harvested through a medical scientific procedure, are then injected back into your body (stem cell therapy) in a desired location, addressing a specific medical condition, movement or pain problem. A newborn baby’s umbilical cord is rich in natural stem cells, and there has been a movement over the last 5-10 years to freeze and save these stem cells for that baby’s (or natural family member) possible health needs.

The human body is a remarkable repair machine. Skin can regenerate, and a small piece of liver transplanted in a human body, grows miraculously to accommodate the body’s needs. But damaged cartilage causing osteoarthritis, does not naturally regenerate. Making degenerated and damaged bones and joints “almost good as new” is more often than not, only the outcome of surgery.

Dr. Shane Shapiro, at the Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgery and Center for Regenerative Medicine, published an article in May, 2018 describing how efforts and studies in stem cell regenerative medicine could treat degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, changing the course of orthopedic surgery over the coming years. Although research and studies show promise, stem cell treatment for arthritis is not widely available at this time, as is still being researched.

When discussing stem cell therapy, it’s important to understand that pure stem cells are not currently available to U.S. patients outside of a clinical research study. Stem cell therapies currently used outside clinical studies do not contain pure stem cells; they are a mix of a variety of cells with only a very small percentage, stem cells.

A handful of clinical research trials, monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are ongoing at this time to study stem cell treatment for arthritis. The early findings are encouraging for the future. Many stem cell therapies now marketed to patients are conducted without a required FDA biologics license. Also, some forms of stem cell therapies are mislabeled, and do not contain actual living stem cells. These practices cause concern among rheumatologists as these treatments may mislead, or even harm the public.

Research into stem cells and arthritis shows that there are opportunities for stem cell treatment resulting mostly in pain relief and improvement in function, or quality of life. But only a few limited early studies have demonstrated improvement in new cartilage   or bone formation needed to cure arthritis, so I am skeptical. Exactly how that cartilage regrowth occurs, or even how pain relief is achieved, is still unknown.

To conclude, here is my opinion. Stem cell therapy, particularly with fetal stem cells, offers great promise for many diseases, including regenerating the damaged cartilage of osteoarthritis. Free standing stem cell clinics that offer treatment, giving you back a few of your mature stem cells for a high cost. As a cautionary tale, The New York Times reported, October 15, 2018, that Harvard University is retracting data that had implied that stem cells had improved cardiac function, when stem cells were placed in the heart. The odds of success currently are minimal, and insurance does not cover this expensive procedure. The “Religious Right” has prevailed upon the last three administrations to toss umbilical cords into the trash instead of utilizing them to save or improve lives. We hope this will change one day, or maybe other countries can lead the way.