Regenerative medicine is a relatively new field of medicine that is based on the idea that our bodies can regenerate, restore and renew in ways that were never thought possible. Common treatments that fall under the umbrella of regenerative medicine include stem cell injections, platelet-rich-plasma therapy and select IV therapies.
Your body has its own healing abilities, which is why broken bones and sprained ankles heal. However, your body’s abilities only go so far; maybe it was never able to fully heal that bone or that sprain. Typical clinical practice looks at treatment of injury through the lens of the pain it causes; relieve the pain – there’s no way to fix the source. But regenerative medicine takes a different approach; it looks at treatment through the lens of locating the source of the pain – if we fix the problem at hand, we won’t have to manage the pain.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative therapies are largely comprised of natural, minimally invasive treatments meant to kick start your body’s healing process, aiding tissue repair in places of injury, deformation, or to help other chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis. The other facet of the field of tissue regeneration is research and development, so clinical research is always ongoing, and extremely promising.
There are 3 concentrations in the field of regenerative medicine:
- Cellular therapies
- Biomaterials/tissue engineering
- Artificial organs/biomedical devices
At the Blatman Health and Wellness Centers of Cincinnati and Manhattan, we often utilize regenerative cell therapies for the purpose of restoring joint cartilage in patients. Many doctors and even orthopedic surgery textbooks tell us that cartilage wears out with time and inflammation; an eventual joint replacement is a necessary evil for many of us.
Regenerative medicine is strongly suggesting that notion is untrue – or at least showing is that it doesn’t have to be. Doctors who specialize in regenerative medicine have been helping people recover and restore worn joints and avoid joint replacement surgery for more than 25 years. Our patients have seen great success with regenerative and holistic therapies for pain.
What Other Tissues Can Be Restored or Regenerated?
Painful and degenerative joints aren’t nearly the only applications of regenerative medicine:
Tendon repair – Rather than cutting and anchoring injured tendons with surgical repair, regenerative techniques involve reinjuring the tendon with a needle surgery technique and injecting growth factors that facilitate biologic repair of the tendon.
Ligament repair – Rather than cutting and anchoring injured ligaments with surgical repair, regenerative techniques involve reinjuring the ligament with a needle surgery technique and injecting growth factors that facilitate biologic repair of the ligament
Joint cartilage restoration – Rather than replace a worn joint via invasive surgery, use the idea that our bodies restore cartilage from daily wear and tear minute by minute, and enhance this process with glucosamine, peptides, PRP, and stem cells.
Sexual dysfunction treatment – Regenerative medicine techniques may involve injecting growth factors (PRP/stem cells) into intimate areas to regenerate blood vessels and nerves that bring improvement with engorgement and sensation.
Pelvic floor repair – Growth factor injection and radiofrequency treatments can reduce urinary stress incontinence in women by aiding in repairing and strengthening the pelvic floor and associated muscles.
Pelvic pain recovery – Regenerative treatments can be used in addition to physical therapy to facilitate repair of fascia that anchors pelvic, gluteal, and thigh muscles. This includes chronic pudendal nerve pain.
Heart repair – When heart function has been lost from injuries like ablation and heart attacks, laser-activated and SONG modulated laser-guided vSELS (very small embryonic-like stem cells) can restore heart function and have even gotten people off the heart transplant list.
Lung repair – Stem cell therapies have been used for more than 10 years to help restore lung tissue and function in people with degenerative lung conditions like COPD and emphysema.
Neurorehabilitation – Part of our treatment for neurological disorders includes peptides and IV injections of laser activated and laser guided vSELS (very small embryonic like stem cells). We have seen improvements in people with MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
What Diseases and Conditions May Benefit From Regenerative Medicine Treatment?
There are many conditions that can benefit from regenerative medicine. For some of these, conventional medicine treatments may offer limited assistance or success. Regenerative medicine, especially stem cell treatments, may offer new hope for regeneration of tissue, especially when integrated with other holistic therapies like nutrition counseling and physical therapy.
Now, there is potential to heal issues with organs, muscles, ligaments, joint tissue, nervous system, and even brain, to treat conditions which were previously thought permanent and untreatable. Some of these conditions include:
- IBS – regrow intestinal lining
- COPD – restore lung tissue
- Rheumatoid arthritis – recover joints
- Chronic pain – repair and heal from injury
- Neuropathy – heal nerves
- Kidney failure – restore function
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s – recover brain function
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) – restore nervous system function
- Parkinson’s – repair brain
- Diabetes – repair pancreas
What Kinds of Regenerative Therapies are Currently Available?
Let’s take a closer look at what we mean when we talk about regenerative treatments for restoring damaged bodily tissues, and what we’ve seen in our integrative wellness clinics:
Peptide Therapy: Amino Acids Boost Healing Signals
Peptides are small chains of amino acids (<50) that are coded by your DNA, made in the nucleus of a cell, and then secreted into blood stream and traveling all over to signal cells in your body to get stuff done. The first peptide discovered was insulin. It is made in the pancreas, secreted into the blood stream and tells every cell in your body what to do with sugar.
Since the 1950’s thousands of peptides have been discovered and sequenced. About 30 are used regularly in medicine. Some are injected, some swallowed, and others are administered via a nasal spray. Peptides have the potential to increase your libido, restore cartilage, heal your gut, restore sleep, decrease anxiety, reduce depression, improve ADD, modulate your immune system, and dramatically accelerate healing from injury or surgery.
Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) Treatments: Growth Factors Restore Tissues
Your blood contains platelets, which are the cells in your bloodstream that facilitate healing and growth factors for tissue repair. In PRP therapy, we take blood out of your vein, place it in a centrifuge and separate the platelets from the red and white blood cells. This platelet concentrate is then injected into the site of the damage.
Platelet-rich-plasma treatments give the injured or weakened tissue a super-dose of growth factors and other nutritive sources, boosting your body’s attention to, and ability to, healing the damaged site. PRP therapy has been successfully used for injured cartilage, muscles, ligaments, neuropathy, and more.
Stem Cell Therapy: A Misunderstood Medical Miracle
Stem cell treatments for the past 25 years or more involve using a source of MSCs, (mesenchymal stem or mesenchymal signaling cells) for regenerative treatments. These cells can be harvested from abdominal fat (now mostly illegal per FDA), bone marrow, or donated tissue bank birth parts from healthy C-section babies whose mothers agree to donate the tissue.
Injected MSCs from any source do not “turn into” anything in your body; rather, they work much the same way as the platelet concentration in PRP therapy does. If injected into a joint, tendon or ligament, they release powerful growth factors that accelerate and amplify the healing of injured local cells and activate dormant tissue stem cells that will then grow new, healthy tissue.
If injected intravenously, they migrate to where your biology has set off signal flares (biological signs that help is needed here), cling to nearby blood vessels, and release powerful growth factors that accelerate and amplify healing. The problem here is that MSC’s are too big to get through the blood-brain barrier on their own; additional IV therapy with Mannitol is needed to open the barrier. As well, because of their molecular size, stem cells often get stuck in the lungs. This is great for COPD and other lung conditions, though. MSCs also have a difficult time growing anything but muscle, tendon, ligament, or cartilage. We have seen them grow brain tissue (improve dementia), but it is not their wheelhouse.
Then these injected MSC’s typically die in 2-3 months. For many painful chronic conditions like arthritis of the knee and musician’s injuries, this means several periodic stem cell treatments are needed to give the body ongoing healing support.
Exosome Treatments: Stem Cell Products for New Injuries
Exosomes are tiny vesicles of growth factors given off by stressed-out stem cells. They can be injected or otherwise used like PRP and stem cells, greatly accelerating the immediate treatment of an injury for 1-2 weeks. All stem cell injections include exosomes by definition, but an extra dose of exosomes can be purchased and integrated with the stem cell treatment. Some companies harvest exosomes from the same stem cells by stressing them again and again. First-generation exosomes are more active and do more, so they may be more expensive.
vSELs Injections: Small Stem Cells, Super-Powered Therapy
vSELs are very small embryonic like stem cells. They are 2-4 microns in size and can easily get through lungs and even fit through the blood-brain barrier. These cells are not MSCs, but rather they are pluripotent (just after embryo) stem cells that can generate all three gem layers of tissue, including brain and heart.
vSELs are in your blood, dormant since your birth, and can only be accessed by your body after extreme and major trauma. Fortunately, several years ago a small group of researchers at discovered that a SONG-modified laser could not only “wake up” and activate these cells, but this laser could also direct the cells where to go in your body for treatment. So, they can be sent to your heart, lungs, brain, and more…
In one cardiac study, for example, all the patients were on the heart transplant list or ventricular assisted device list. From one treatment:
- 50% got off the transplant list
- 50% was average condition improvement
- 20% had near-normal cardiac function
In our office, we have personally seen improvement in:
- Joint pain
- Tendon/ligament injury
These cells have the capacity to assist healing in most any area and tissue of your body.
Regenerative & Integrative Medicine: True Healing at the Blatman Health and Wellness Clinic
Regenerative medicine at the Blatman Health and Wellness Center means using a combination of these tools and others to help you accomplish your healing and pain relief goals. We treat pain comprehensively, looking at whole-body health and how chronic pain affects your quality of life. With treatments like peptide therapy, PRP injections, IV therapies, and more, your potential for permanent pain relief has never been higher.