Regenerative medicine is the field of medicine that involves renewing and repairing the body through various treatments. Treatments that fall under the field of regenerative medicine facilitate repair, rejuvenation, and offer extensive anti-aging properties to treat conditions like fatigue, aging, and joint pain. Personally, I believe regenerative medicine is, and will continue, to transform the healthcare system and help patients live healthier and happier lives.
What Does Regenerative Medicine Entail?
Regenerative medicine incorporates tissue engineering and molecular biology to replace or regenerate the cells, allowing them to restore or reestablish normal function.
But what does this form of medicine look like? In my practice, I offer three different types of regenerative therapies. These include:
- Stem Cell Therapy
- Exosome Therapy
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)Therapy
Stem cells, exosomes, and PRP can all be used to regenerate and heal the body. I personally offer treatments based on the patient’s medical needs, conditions, and expectations—so the type of regenerative therapy each person receives may vary.
STEM CELLS: DEFINITION AND BACKGROUND
Before we discuss the benefits of stem cell therapy, I’d like to define stem cells
Stem cells are cells that can become any type of cell in the body. For example, one single stem cell can change into a muscle cell, a liver cell, a bone cell, a skin cell, or a brain cell. Their versatility is astounding in that it allows medical practitioners such as myself to treat a number of conditions and diseases, as well as the aging process. (We’ll touch on some of these conditions shortly.)
Early in life, the body develops as a result of embryonic stem cells changing into different types of cells. However, in adulthood, we have mesenchymal stem cells which are traditionally found in bone marrow and fat. In the medical field, we have discovered that these non-specified mesenchymal stem cells can repair damaged cells in the event of injury or cellular damage.
The body’s mesenchymal stem cells typically replace the skin every two weeks, creating new red and white blood cells all while helping the body perform other essential tasks. In short, stem cells can:
- Self-renew, or divide into another stem cell (by making a copy of itself)
- Differentiate, or change into another cell type
Because of this, if you inject the stem cells into damaged areas of the body, they can help create new and healthy cells. This healing process is highly beneficial for a wide range of conditions. Furthermore, when you place stem cells into the affected site during stem cell therapy, it is highly unlikely that the body will reject them since the body often times recognizes it as its own DNA. So, by concentrating stem cells in the targeted area, doctors like me can accelerate tissue repair and overall healing.
Stem Cell Therapy
The market for stem cell therapy is currently growing at a rate of 36% per year.1 There’s significant demand for the treatment, which I’ve seen in my own practice as well.
The applications for stem cell therapy are expansive. At this point, the FDA has approved stem cell therapy to treat blood-related and immunological conditions. Conditions for which stem cell therapy may be ideal include:
- Memory loss
- Autoimmune conditions
- Elbow and knee pain
- Musculoskeletal and sports injuries
- Vision problems
Recent clinical research also suggests that stem cells can
rejuvenate “old hearts” by replacing them with new ones
(and therefore strengthening the tissues of the heart).2
According to these studies, stem therapy resulted in:
- Increased functionality of the heart
- Enhanced stamina for exercise (upwards of 20% improvement)
- Longer telomeres for heart cells
Telomeres are compounds that are present at the end of chromosomes. The shortening of telomeres directly correlates with the aging process. This brings me to my next point
Can Stem Cell Therapy Slow the Aging Process?
Research indicates that stem cells can in fact slow or reverse aging.
Specifically, stem cells can repair and renew brain cells called neurons. This includes the hypothalamus, which oversees the hormones that control aging. In order to facilitate this process, I prefer administering the stem cells into the inferior turbinates in the nose since recent studies with mice have shown that stem cells injected into this region can travel to the brain and facilitate neuronal connections.4
In addition, stem cell therapy can slow the aging process by helping to treat or prevent conditions like osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Osteoarthritis is an autoimmune and degenerative disease that affects the joints. The knees are especially affected, and in knee osteoarthritis specifically, the cartilage between the knee joints tends to wear off.
Since cartilage is slow to regenerate in most cases, the joint may lose its functionality. Stem cell therapy, however, can give the affected knees an appropriate amount of stem cells so the cartilage can repair itself
And now multiple sclerosis —studies completed on mice reveal that stem cell therapy can improve mobility by healing the neurons.3 These clinical trials are giving scientists ground to apply their results to humans and work toward treating other neurodegenerative diseases using stem cell therapy.
Exosomes are essentially the building blocks of stem cells. Also known as extracellular vesicles, they are crucial to the way cells communicate with one another.
I like to tell my patients to think of a stem cell as a large bowl of soup, and of exosomes as the contents of the soup. You might think of them as the “ingredients” needed to heal the body
So how does exosome therapy work? Just like stem cell injections, exosomes can be injected into the area needing treatment. They might be injected in the knee, or administered intravenously for anti-aging purposes.
The main objective is to promote tissue repair and good health.
Exosomes and stem cells are crucial to my regenerative medicine practice. So too is PRP therapy.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can promote hair restoration and regrowth, other cosmetic improvements, wound healing, and joint healing. The platelets consist of a single type of blood cell, and they contain growth factors that can speed healing and tissue renewal.
The treatment involves drawing blood from the patient’s arm, and then separating the PRP from the rest of the blood. The healthcare practitioner administering the therapy will then numb the treatment area and carefully inject the PRP into the skin. At this point, the platelets will break down and release their growth factors, causing the cells and tissue to rejuvenate.
The procedure involves little to no downtime and only takes about 30 minutes. In addition, the results are typically most noticeable after six months. Patients may need touchup PRP injections once or more per year. If you have questions, I’ll be happy to guide you through the treatment and everything involved in ensuring the best results.
How Is PRP Therapy Different from Stem Cell Therapy?
While both treatments fall under the same category—and touch on the body’s natural healing abilities—stem cell therapy is more advanced than PRP therapy. You might say they’re a more complex form of PRP therapy
PRP therapy stimulates the body’s existing repair mechanism, causing it to work harder than it would under normal circumstances
Stem cell therapy, meanwhile, introduces brand new cells into the body that can become any type of cell which can replace the damaged cells and tissues with new and healthy ones.
Both PRP therapy and stem cell therapy—and exosomes, for that matter—are ideal for patients looking to experience the benefits of regenerative medicine
Regenerative Medicine and the Future
I firmly believe regenerative medicine is the way of the future.
The discipline, which involves the replacement or “regeneration” of human cells, tissues, and organs, can help stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms.
And while chemical drugs don’t have much of an effect on aging, I’ve seen that natural regenerative therapies can be quite effective. After all, as we discussed above, they’re designed to stimulate tissue regrowth and restoration. Researchers are testing how therapies like stem cell injections can strengthen the immune system, repair cartilage, improve bone density, and more. As these therapies advance, I am confident we’ll discover they have even greater potential.
Moving forward, researchers and healthcare practitioners must translate scientific findings into new therapies that minimize human suffering all while yielding great results.
In my practice, patients know I value regenerative therapies because they do not rely on drugs or synthetic materials. Rather, these therapies allow the body to use its own cells and systems to thrive.
Please contact me for more information on the science, benefits, and future of regenerative medicine. It would be my pleasure to discuss these treatments in more detail with you.
- Moradi Mike. Why stem cells could be the medical innovation of the century. WeForum. 2020.
- Lemcke H, Voronina N, Steinhoff G, David R. Recent Progress in Stem Cell Modification for Cardiac Regeneration. Stem Cells Int. 2018;2018:1909346. Published 2018 Jan 16. doi:10.1155/2018/1909346
- Ardeshiry Lajimi A, Hagh MF, Saki N, Mortaz E, Soleimani M, Rahim F. Feasibility of cell therapy in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review of 83 studies. Int J Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Res. 2013;7(1):15–33.
- Lim H, Park SH, Kim SW, Cho KO. Therapeutic Potential of Human Turbinate-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Experimental Acute Ischemic Stroke. Int Neurourol J. 2018;22(Suppl 3):S131–S138. doi:10.5213/inj.1836220.110