Wenchun Qu, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. He is currently leading multiple clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the treatment of low back pain, including a phase III trial of intradiscal allogeneic bone marrow-derived MSC transplantation and a phase I trial of autologous adipose-derived MSC transplantation in degenerative disk disease (DDD). He has considerable experience in translational MSC research and has an established service line providing office-based stem cell therapy for degenerative spinal conditions.

What are the challenges associated with treatment of low back pain, and what novel therapies are currently available?

Treatment of low back pain is challenging for a variety of reasons. Current therapies may not be effective in every patient, and even in those who experience pain relief, the effectiveness of that treatment modality may diminish. For refractory low back pain, available novel therapies include bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies for symptomatic facet arthritis, degenerative disk disease and sacroiliac pains.

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