What Is Regenerative Medicine and What Does It Mean for the Future?

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Issues, Lifestyle, Lifestyle - Issue 144 | 0 comments

The human body is amazing. It's not only designed to heal its immune system but also to repair any sustained damages. We see this every day: when you get bruised...

The human body is amazing. It’s not only designed to heal its immune system but also to repair any sustained damages. We see this every day: when you get bruised during a fall, a broken bone in a cast, the body will not just heal but also repair the sustained damage. But not all ailments can be healed by the body, such as diabetes, degenerative disc disease or cardiovascular issues.

By introducing regenerative medicine, patients have a better chance to succeed in fighting these diseases.

What Is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is a process in which damaged cells are replaced with healthy cells to speed up the process of regeneration and restore normal function. 

The benefits of regenerative medicine include that it is non-invasive, and there is no chance of rejection because the stem cells employed are your own. Compared to other treatments, the recovery period is also shorter, and the dangers are minimal. The cells are taken from the patient’s blood, bone marrow, fat, or other sources in order to grow new tissue in the lab before they are transplanted back into the body.

Is Regenerative Medicine Effective?

One of the oldest concepts in medicine is the use of the body to cure itself. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, used a rudimentary type of acupuncture to heal a dislocated shoulder in a patient as early as 400 BC. The discovery of stem cells in the late 1970s, as well as other medical breakthroughs during the last few decades, has propelled this field of medicine into mainstream use.

Regenerative medicine has a track record of success that can be seen on millions of TV screens and in all of today’s headlines. What sports fan hasn’t heard about a star athlete who used PRP therapy to speed up his elbow or shoulder injury recovery? Notable athletes who went through regenerative medicine are Bartolo Colon, Jarvis Green, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and, some say, Tiger Woods.

What Can Be Treated with Regenerative Medicine?

The body cannot manage long-lasting chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and heart disease on its own. Such conditions can be managed using very costly medication and medical equipment in the long run. Although regenerative medicine lends a helping hand in managing long-lasting chronic conditions, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed before it can be used more broadly.

Some examples of the application of regenerative medicine are:

  • Breast Reconstruction: Plastic surgeons have pioneered the use of regenerative medicine by helping breast cancer survivors in regenerating new tissue layers on implants.
  • Burn Injury: The treatment is used to regenerate the innermost layer of the skin after burn injuries.
  • Degenerative Disk Disease: Stem cells are injected into the damaged spinal disk to help develop healthy cells and repair the disk. It’s a far better solution than an invasive surgery where the patient is at risk and has a long recovery time.
  • Cartilage Regeneration: Cartilage can’t heal on its own since it doesn’t have a constant blood supply. This is ideal for active people 55 and older.

Can Regenerative Medicine Replace Surgery?

Nowadays, many conditions can only be corrected with surgical procedures, while others can only be managed with medication. Whether it’s a chronic condition or injury, these ailments can be addressed or cured with regenerative therapy. It also sheds a new hope, especially to those elderly patients who are not considered ideal candidates to undergo dangerous surgical treatments or even those who are just afraid to undergo surgery.

A Parting Reminder

Many challenges and studies lay in regenerative medicine’s way to reach a broader use. Although the potential results are promising, it is best to ask an expert if you are a suitable candidate for regenerative medicine treatment.

Drew B

Drew B