19 Jul The 5 Basic Principles of Regenerative Medicine
Lone Star Pain Medicine is thrilled to be able to offer a limited number of regenerative therapies to patients with qualifying conditions. Regenerative medicine is not necessarily new in terms of scientific study. In fact, researchers have been studying it for decades. Yet it is comparatively new to the marketplace. Some people are just now hearing about it for the first time.
If you are curious about regenerative therapies and whether or not they can help you, do not hesitate to ask your physician next time you visit Lone Star. In the meantime, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce our readers to the five basic principles of regenerative medicine. The more you know about it, the better able you will be to make informed decisions.
1. Regenerating Lost or Damaged Tissue
Regenerative medicine’s ultimate goal is found in its name: to heal by regenerating lost or damaged tissue. We can use osteoarthritis as a good example. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage. As the amount of cartilage between the two bones of a given joint deteriorates, the bones have more opportunity to grind on each other. It is this that causes osteoarthritis pain.
Stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are designed to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. As cartilage is restored, pain decreases and function improves.
2. Tissue and Organ Growth
While regenerative medicine at the consumer level focuses on addressing lost or damaged tissue, there are wider efforts to perfect the science for the purposes of growing organs and tissue in a lab environment. Indeed, there are biomedical companies already working on this, and, although they have not perfected their processes yet, they are well on their way. The goal is to be able to produce tissue and organs that could eventually supplement or completely replace donated organs and tissue.
3. Promoting Natural Healing
Regenerative medicine is rooted in the understanding that the human body is designed to heal itself. It doesn’t always do that, but the potential is there. Regenerative medicine seeks to tap into that potential. It seeks to give the body the help it needs to naturally heal itself. Where it succeeds, there is less of a need for surgeries, pharmacological treatments, and fabricated medical devices.
4. Stem Cells and PRP Are the Starting Point
All regenerative therapies are rooted in either human stem cells or PRP. Some utilize both. If you are being treated for osteoarthritis, your doctor might recommend injections of one or the other. The important thing to note is that you would donate your own stem cells or blood plasma. This all but eliminates the risk of complications and rejection.
For the record, current FDA regulations allow for regenerative therapies as long as the biological material is autologous (meaning it has been donated by the patient being treated) and minimally manipulated. We make this point only to counter false claims that regenerative medicine is an unregulated Wild West scenario. It is anything but.
5. A More Natural Type of Medicine
Regenerative medicine is a more natural type of medicine in that it seeks to use what the body already has available to promote healing. Unlike invasive surgical procedures, outpatient regenerative medicine therapies are minimally invasive. When the therapies perform as expected, they reduce the need for prescription medications.
Regenerative therapies are not suitable for every condition we treat at Lone Star, but it may be appropriate for your condition. Feel free to visit our Weatherford clinic if you would like to know more about it and whether or not it is an option for you.