an overview of regenerative medicine and stem cell injections

Through progresses in the field of science, there is a greater focus on restoring and repair the body instead of using methods of replacement of body areas or pain reduction that may only serve in alleviating the symptoms instead of treating the problem.

These important changes have evolved over a long period of time through many factors. Americans tend to live longer and are leading more active lifestyles as a result of modern behaviours and strides in medicine. Joint replacement methods have had good results but are usually performed only in extreme cases as they may lead to other problems. The best method to relieve pain is the fix the problem instead of just bandaging it up.

A bone marrow generates stem cells, which are the cells that give rise to skin, bone, muscle, cartilage and even other specialized cells. Therefore they are the cells that can turn into any type of mature cell based on where in the body they are relocated to.

These precursor type of stem cells can be placed in the damaged part of one’s body so that there can be internal repair that can eventually restore normal functioning of the body. This could also help repair damage to cartilage due to arthritis, soft tissue damage of the typical rotator cuff, complications with spinal cord, organs like kidneys or pancreas and even heart.

Musculoskeletal Considerations

A main problem that arises when parts of the body like a spinal disc gets damaged is that it is unable to produce any method for self repair. These areas also have limited blood flow and are therefore unable to repair damaged disc tissue on their own.

Stem calls can help to repair this through placing cells into these areas that can then give rise to the tissue that are necessary to repair and restore normal functionality in the region.

Where Are Stem Cells Obtained?

Stem cells can be derived using various ways. These methods have not generally been studied under diverse conditions or on large sets of patients in order to determine their success. These methods have however been observed to have a lot of potential especially to cure musculoskeletal disorders.

The following are stem cell related options:

  • Bone Marrow as well as Fat Derived Stem Cells straight from patient’s body
  • Amniotic Derived Stem Cells from not the patient’s body but from a Consenting Donor ( It is no fetal tissue or embryonic cells)
  • Even PRP Therapy

Stem Cells From Outside The Body

Amniotic fluid is known to be a very good potential source for stem cells. Fetuses have a lot of stemcells, which are then transferred to the amniotic fluid. This part of the body therefore has greater number of stem cells as compared to human’s bone marrow that an adult possesses.

An amniotic fluid is typically discarded after a child is born. If it is therefore processed instead, it can used to create a biological injection. The injectable material contains anti inflammatory substances as well as hyaluronic acid, all of which assist in pain reduction and the regeneration of new tissue.

There is new research being conducted involving amnion-based specific stem cell injection and thus far this method is showing a lot of potential wherever it has been conducted. It could be taken for typical spinal fusion, injuries that do not heal easily, tendon as well as ligament injuries and osteoarthritis. This method is also considered for peripheral vascular disease as well as ophthalmology. Even systemic conditions like heart disease as well as Parkinsons Disease may be treated.

Stem Cells From The Patient’s Own Body

Another supply source of good stem cells is the patient’s own body. This injection material may thenbe introduced into the location of the injury site. The studies on this method of treatment are in the initial phases so there is not much evidence for its success apart from what has been conducted in small trials.

In this method, iliac crest aspiration is done, sourcing the cells from the pelvis or the hip. The individual may feel a bit of discomfort. The aspiration material can then be processed for being injected into the damaged body part.

Another supply source of good stem cells is from human body fat. In this method, regenerative medicine treatment centre harvests the individual’s fat cells and then processes it so that there is then a rich supply of stem cells that is obtained. This material is then introduced into the damaged part of the body. As in the other methods, there is no evidence for whether this method will be successful in the long run.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

The final way that stem cells can be harvested is through platelet’s rich plasma, or even PRP. This is the minimally invasive method out of all of those described so far. In this method, blood is taken from the veins of the arm and is then placed in a centrifuge. This is injected in the area where it is required.

The injectable material comprises platelets as also growth factors or stem cells that will then help to repair and regenerate the damaged tissue. This method has been used to treat tendonitis in a rotator cuff as well as patellar tendon, arthritis from overuse and even ligament sprains.

Which Technique Is Most Effective?

It is found that stem cells derived from the patient’s own body cells are the most safe method, but the efficacy of these methods is yet to be determined. Therefore, which one of these methods of treatment can give the best yield of the stem cells as well as how can that help in the long run?

At this time, all of these methods have shown optimum results in the small scale trials as part of ongoing research. Bigger scale treatments have yet to be conducted. As there are more studies undertaken, there will be a better understanding as to which one of these types of treatment are the best for treating musculoskeletal conditions like ligaments as well as tendons tears and extremity spinal arthritis.