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What Is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine has several different approaches: Some center on surgically repairing damaged tissues or organs with bioengineered replacements, and others involve injection-based therapy using a person’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells.

The field is composed of biologists, bioengineers, doctors, and scientists who work toward a common goal – and with out-of-the-box thinking – through trial and error. Regenerative medicine involves radically new concepts, including virtually anything that triggers the renewal of the body’s tissues and harnessing the body’s own healing capabilities.

How Cellular Therapy Works

Researchers have been using stem cells for years now, studying how they can be used to replace, repair, or renew damaged cells. Stem cells have been particularly successful for about four decades already in treating blood cancers and for bone-marrow transplants.

Adult stem cells are stem cells that are derived from any human who is older than five days post-conception; embryonic stem cells were discovered when researchers were studying animal fetuses in a laboratory. Embryonic stem cells can also be found in the umbilical cord of a baby who has just been born, so this is a valuable resource if a new mother is willing to donate her umbilical cord blood for harvesting the stem cells.

Stem cells are somewhat of a blank slate and can develop into one or several unique structures in the body. Stem cell therapy has evolved over the years as far as collection methods and storage. When parents have a child, it is a terrific idea to bank the umbilical cord blood – for possible future use of the stem cells – in a tissue bank.

Can I Use My Own Stem Cells?

Quite routinely now, stem cells are harvested from the patient’s own hip or from adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs). These are mesenchymal cells, and the adipose (fat) cells are taken from the patient’s abdominal fat tissue – usually via liposuction.

These ADSCs have the potential to serve as chondrocytes, myocytes, adipocytes, and neurocytes, which can help repair the body in an exponential number of ways. These ADSCs have proven effective in treating many orthopedic conditions, such as knee pain; they are also being studied in clinical trials for the treatment of diabetes, liver disease, corneal repair, and regrowing cartilage.

Applications for Stem Cells

Vascular valves are now being grown in laboratory settings to possibly be used to replace faulty heart valves. Stem cells are also being used for growing engineered skin, which could be used to replace skin on burn victims and even to treat wounds caused by nerve damage from diabetes.

Imagine being able to induce new bone and connective tissue growth, aid in the regeneration of damaged or broken bones, and replace cartilage in a knee via cellular therapy. Researchers are now trying to find how best to make this work, if possible. It is ideal if a person can be their own donor so that their body has minimal chance of rejecting the implanted tissue or cells.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Another popular application of regenerative medicine revolves around harvesting a patient’s own plasma by withdrawing blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting the platelet-rich plasma into the site of the injury.

The purpose is to expedite the regeneration of cartilage or other cells by harnessing the healing powers of platelets, which form scabs and are able to heal the body. Because the patient donates their own blood for their own treatment, there is almost no chance of rejection or adverse reaction.

The whole point behind regenerative medicine is to utilize the body’s own systems to repair itself – indeed, to regenerate itself. The premise behind the science of regenerative medicine is to transform the approach of treating human disease, cellular degeneration, or injury through innovation that can offer patients a faster, better, more complete recovery, but without potential side effects like tissue rejection.

Health Clinic Near Me

If you have a health condition or injury that you feel could be helped with regenerative medicine, contact Lynx Healthcare today. Call us at (509) 591-0070 or request a consultation online.

Lynx is so dedicated to continuing the field of regenerative medicine that we recently acquired one tissue bank and are building a second. If you reside in Washington state, Oregon, or near Albuquerque, contact Lynx for any questions you have about total health and wellness.

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