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Sanford Medical Center has breakthrough in curing Rotator Cuff pain

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FARGO—Many of us have felt that twinge in our shoulder. Trying to start the lawn mower or lifting a toddler.

That's the pesky rotator cuff, which affects 6 million people a year.

A team from Sanford Medical Center in Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., could hold the key to repairing this shoulder injury by using our own bodies.

It's the first Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial of its kind in the country.

Gary Johnson, 64, hopes to be a candidate and he, like many of us, has nagging rotator cuff pain.

"That one repetitive motion has worn this one point out in the front." Johnson says.

He hopes to meet the criteria and be enrolled in this groundbreaking research at Sanford.

"I was asked if I had a vision for the future where did I think it would be, not unique to me, but the future is in biologics." says Dr. Mark Lundeen, a doctor at Sanford.

They will use a person's fat-derived stem cells to treat rotator cuff injury.

"If we can prove the stem cells induce a healing response and prevent progression, that changes everything for a large number of people." Lundeen says.

Eighteen patients will be in the study.

Some will receive the stem cells; others will not.

The FDA will then look at the data, and using stringent scientific rigor, decide if the United States will welcome this treatment.

With FDA approval, the stem cell treatment could be available in the U.S. within two years.