Our body has an impressive capacity to heal itself and return to its normal function. From a simple scrape in our skin to a perforation in the liver, our body can recuperate and restore itself to healthy functionality. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same regenerative capabilities and organ systems as an average healthy adult.
People suffering from autoimmune diseases and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatic arthritis, often experience a lack of regenerative capabilities causing them to experience long-term pain and debilitation.
This is where regenerative therapy comes in. Regenerative therapy is a specialized approach to health care and medicine that utilizes the natural regenerative capacity of the body for healing purposes. This therapy works by stimulating cells to create new tissue and encouraging healthy cell growth in an area of injury or disease.
If you’re dealing with the effects of a chronic condition or disease, then regenerative medicine therapies or therapy may be the answer you need. With this blog post, you’ll learn the essentials of regenerative medicine and how it can improve the quality of your life.
What Does Regenerative Mean?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines regenerative as “relating to something growing or being grown again.” In medical science, it’s the ability of a cell or organism to create new tissue and reproduce after suffering some kind of injury or disease.
Regenerative medicine research aims to find ways to promote the body’s natural regenerative capacity and repair or replace damaged tissues or organs. It involves various cutting-edge technology, including stem cell therapy, gene therapy, and specialized treatments such as tissue engineering and artificial organs.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Despite being regarded as a “new” branch of modern medicine, regenerative medicine (RM) has been mentioned in historical medical literature. Although the term “regenerative medicine” wasn’t used then, the work of Alexis Carrell and Charles Lindbergh in the 1930s is an excellent example of RM in action.
Carrell and Lindbergh developed an artificial perfusion pump that could oxygenate a patient’s organ outside the body. This innovation is the inspiration behind the artificial heart. Carrell and Lindbergh’s work is an example of biomechanics, a medical branch related to RM.
It wasn’t until 1992 that Leland Kaiser coined the term “regenerative medicine” in his paper, predicting the future of medicine. However, many people believe that William Haseltine was the one who birthed the term in 1999 to describe this emerging discipline.
Today, RM is a broad field covering various disciplines ranging from cell biology, biomedical engineering and tissue engineering to gene therapy and stem cell research. It primarily focuses on finding solutions for conditions not adequately treated by conventional medicine.
Stem cell therapy is one of the most prominent procedures in RM, and this therapy utilizes stem cells to repair and replace damaged tissues or organs. Currently, the cluster of RM treatments is somewhat limited, but it’s expected to grow as the field develops.
Why is Regenerative Medicine Used? What Does it Help With?
Regenerative medicine is developed to restore structure and establish normal function by repairing or replacing damaged tissues and organs. Regenerative medicine has various therapeutic applications, such as the following.
Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials
Tissue engineering and biomaterials are two prominent sub-fields of regenerative medicine. Because of their many similarities, these two terms are often used interchangeably. However, these terms refer to different aspects of tissue regeneration.
Tissue engineering is the process of creating functional artificial tissues to replace or repair damaged ones. Tissue engineering is often done by cultivating cell cultures and tissue seeds from the patient’s cells. This technique helps replace lost tissue due to chronic diseases.
On the other hand, biomaterials are artificial or natural materials that are used to support, enhance, or replace the function of a tissue or organ. Biomaterials can be made from various substances, including metals, polymers, and other biocompatible materials. A great example of biomaterials is hip implants (Total hip arthroplasty) inserted in a patient’s body to restore normal hip movement.
The confusion between these terms goes back to when tissue engineering was originally classified under biomaterials. However, because of the significant advances in tissue engineering and the nature of the discipline, it is now considered a separate field.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is one of the most promising treatments in regenerative medicine. It involves using stem cells, which have an indefinite lifespan and can transform into any tissue or organ. Stem cells can repair damaged tissues and organs by replacing dead or dysfunctional cells with healthy ones.
Stem cell therapies are used to treat various conditions, such as macular degeneration, heart failure, bone marrow and spinal cord injuries, and diabetes. The therapy is also used to heal tissues and repair blood vessels.
It’s generally preferred to utilize human embryonic stem cells over adult stem cells in stem cell therapy. However, adult stem cells also have therapeutic potential and can be used to treat various diseases.
To harvest an embryonic stem cell, a single cell is taken from an embryo cultured in an artificial environment until it multiplies into millions of cells. Doctors also use umbilical cord blood as an alternative source of stem cells.
Prolotherapy or proliferation therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that helps stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms by injecting an irritant into the damaged tissue of joints, tendons, and ligaments.
It’s believed that this technique heals the body by triggering an inflammatory response and inducing the production of new cells.
Proliferation therapy is intended to repair the degenerated tissue by increasing blood supply and stimulating cell growth. This technique effectively treats chronic pain, arthritis, sports injuries, tendonitis, bursitis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Medical Devices and Artificial Organs
Sometimes, the damage to the body is too severe and can’t be healed naturally or through regenerative therapies. In such cases, medical devices and artificial organs restore normal body functions.
Medical devices are surgically implanted into the patient’s body to replace a damaged organ or tissue. These devices work like natural organs and provide immediate relief from the symptoms of a particular disease. Artificial organs are created with the help of tissue engineering and biomaterials.
Currently, medical devices and artificial organs are used to treat conditions such as hearing loss, visual impairment, diabetes, heart failure, renal failure, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
The field of regenerative medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Scientists can now repair or replace damaged tissues and organs with cutting-edge technologies and therapeutic interventions.
Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood and contains essential components of human cells such as proteins, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, and minerals. Platelets are cells in the blood responsible for clotting and healing.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a type of concentrated plasma that contains a higher concentration of platelets than normal blood. When injected into an injured area, PRP releases growth factors that stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms and promote tissue regeneration.
PRP treats various conditions, including tendonitis, bursitis, cartilage degeneration, arthritis, muscle tears, ligament injuries, and bone defects. Since PRP is derived from the patient’s blood, it is safe and free from any risks of rejection or side effects. Moreover, it has an extremely minimal chance of causing transfusion allergies.
Immunomodulation therapy is a medical technique to fortify the body’s immune defenses. It works by modifying the immune system, suppressing it, or activating it. This type of therapy is used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
To perform immunomodulation therapy, the doctor initiates regeneration by administering biologically active molecules to suppress the immune system and immunomodulators, which are drugs used to activate the immune system.
When used in combination with stem cell therapy, these two techniques have shown promising results in treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Contact Academy Orthopedics Today!
Regenerative medicine provides a sliver of hope for many patients with severe muscle and joint injuries, degenerative diseases, and autoimmune conditions.
Despite the young age of this field of molecular medicine, it has proven to be an effective option for many patients suffering from a wide range of conditions. As the area continues to evolve, researchers are discovering groundbreaking treatments and therapies that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare forever.
Many medical institutions today are equipping their facilities with contemporary regenerative treatments and therapies. This growth in practical and medicinal applications could catalyze the future of regenerative medicine.
At Academy Orthopedics, our medical doctors are trained to deliver the highest quality of regenerative therapy. Our institution provides Amniotic Tissue Injections and Platelet-rich Plasma Injections to treat injuries and degenerative diseases.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above, contact Academy Orthopedics today or call us on: (770) 271-9857 to book a consultation with our highly skilled medical professionals. To read more of our content, visit our Blog Page or follow our Social Media: Facebook and Twitter.