Regenerative medicine is a term you hear a lot these days because it is cutting-edge science that is advancing quickly and offering hope to many. Regenerative medicine involves evidence-based treatment modalities that heal damaged tissue but how does it work?
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes and autoimmune diseases leave damaged joints, muscle and even organs in their wake. Regenerative medicine prompts the body to heal itself using advanced techniques like stem cell therapy. The goal is to stimulate tissue repair instead of just masking pain or slowing the progression of a disease. Although regenerative medicine is still an expanding field of study, it provides a natural healing process potentially more effective than most treatment options.
How Does Regenerative Medicine Work?
There are many different fields that fall under the umbrella term of regenerative medicine such as:
Tissue engineering and biomaterials
- Cellular therapies
- Medical devices
- Artificial organs
It sounds very new-age but the truth is medical science has been using regenerative medicine for decades — organ and bone marrow transplants, bone grafting and skin transplantation. In fact, the first recorded transplant occurred centuries ago. Advancements in this science, however; have opened new avenues of research with improved patient outcomes. Many of these treatment plans use the patient’s own stem cells to promote healing and create a long-term solution for repair.
How are Stem Cells Used in Regenerative Medicine?
One of the more exciting fields of study uses stem cells — cells that are still developing and not yet assigned a type. In other words, these cells are blank templates that can differentiate into whatever is needed such as bone, muscle, skin and even nerve or brain cells. Stem cells are the heart of many types of regenerative medicine because they stimulate repair without the risk of rejection like you can see in transplant procedures.
In most treatments, the stem cell harvest comes directly from the patient, either from fat or skin, and then is changed in a lab to focus on the diseased area before being injected back into the body. The changed cells go to the injury site and treat it, making this a form of self-repair.
Even as the research continues for revolutionary fields like tissue engineering and stem cell therapy, the potential is clear. Regenerative medicine might be the answer to everything from cancer to spinal repair. It could potentially offer hope to those suffering from degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis and the joint damage done by osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also offer new approaches to treating chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Put simply, regenerative medicine means promise for those in need of hope.
If you want to learn more about regenerative medicine, give us a call to see if you qualify for this specialized treatment.