Years ago, scientists asked themselves, “What if we could extract the most basic genetic material from a patient, and use it to help heal and regenerate failing tissue in the same patient?” The practice of Regenerative Medicine (RM) attempts to accomplish this elusive goal.
Also known as Cell Therapy, Regenerative Medicine (RM) helps facilitate and speed up our own healing abilities to reverse wear-and-tear on various regions of the body.
Some of the most promising RM techniques used today include Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Here’s a brief description of both…
A Stem Cell Therapy Primer
Stem cells are the raw, undifferentiated kind that have the ability to transform into specialized cells – such those that comprise muscles, joints and blood.
In a stem cell therapy procedure, practitioners harvest stem cells from fatty abdominal (adipose) cells or from bone marrow. They then use a concentrated dose of those cells to target an illness or injury.
Once stem cells are harvested, they are sent to a lab to be further extracted using a centrifuge. The goal is to create enough material to be effective when injected back into the body at the troubled site, such as a knee joint.
With organ transplants, one of the key challenges is tissue rejection, but since the injected stem cells are from the patient’s own body, there are minimal chances of this occurring.
Stem cell therapy has the potential to treat a variety of issues related to Parkinson’s disease, certain types of arthritis, joint pain, erectile dysfunction, thinning hair, heart disease, spinal cord injuries and more.
For a video view, here’s Craig Kohn for TED Ed…
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Just as promising, but even more convenient, and less invasive, is Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy.
PRP therapy is the process by which a small amount of blood is drawn from a patient. Platelet-rich plasma is then extracted from the sample, and inserted back into the patient at the targeted area, such as a knee joint. For some procedures, practitioners use an imaging machine to ensure the injection hits the right spot.
After the injection, inflammation may appear temporarily. This is natural, as the platelets trigger the body’s healing system to work on the injury. Once inflammation, dissipates, healing relief can occur.
PRP therapy can encourage the body to heal itself, as well as accelerate healing. It can be used to treat a variety of issues involving ligaments, tendons, fractures and muscular injuries, and is a popular alternative in sports medicine.
If a video on PRP therapy is what you crave, watch this one from the Center for Diagnostic Imaging.
Can RM help you?
RM is a promising treatment that should be considered before attempting more invasive methods. Clinics like National Stem Cell Centers is a great place to request a consultation to help determine its appropriateness for your particular issue.