Regenerative Medicine at
Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine
Our pain management physicians at Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine in Colorado Springs offer truly innovative therapies, including regenerative medicine. The goal behind regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is to treat previously untreatable diseases and injuries by restoring the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs. Regenerative medicine could be the answer you’re looking for at Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine, so keep on reading to learn more about the process and history of regenerative medicine (stem cell therapy).
The human body is in a constant state of degradation and repair. If we sustain an injury, tissue factors are released and this leads to a cascade of chemical signals that starts the repair process. This is known as “inflammation.” These signals call small cellular workers (usually neutrophils) to the site of injury that clean up the debris and signal the surrounding area to lay down new tissue. However, as we age that balance gets tilted towards more degeneration, and less regeneration. Due to a variety of genetic, environmental, and other factors, the inflammation is there but the process of repair is sluggish. Injury occurs and the site doesn’t completely heal, leading to scar tissue, poor blood flow, and chronic pain.
Platelets are a key cellular component to this process. When injury occurs, they release a myriad of chemical growth factors and signals that starts the process of inflammation. We can use this to our advantage. We can draw blood from your body and spin it down in a centrifuge. This separates the sample into layers of red blood cells, platelet poor plasma, and platelet rich plasma. It is the platelet rich plasma (PRP) that is drawn off and reinjected into your site of chronic injury. This PRP concentrate has over thirty growth factors and signaling molecules such as fibroblast growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and connective tissue growth factor. Best of all, it’s your tissue. There’s no chance of allergic reaction or rejection. Complications are incredibly low; much lower than putting medications and other foreign substances into your body. The rationale for using this therapy remains compelling: it’s relatively cheap, minimally invasive, and the platelets harbor the growth factors that are thought to accelerate the natural healing process and promote blood vessel formation and cartilage repair. The entire process can take less than thirty minutes and increases the concentration of platelets and growth factors up to 500%.
Likewise, stem cells are the body’s raw materials – cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. PRP is commonly used for its anti-inflammatory and pro-healing effects while stem cell therapy is a different approach to hopefully achieve more lasting outcomes. Under the right conditions in the body (or a laboratory), stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells. These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
Researchers (Ph.D) and physicians (M.D. and D.O.) are actively researching stem cells to:
- Increase understanding of how diseases occur
- Generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells
- Leverage their anti-inflammatory and self-regenerative properties to prolong therapy
Stem cells are derived from many sources, including embryonic cells, adult cells, and perinatal cells. We do not participate in the harvesting or use of stem cells from embryonic sources.
Adult stem cell (autologous) sources typically arise from a harvesting process from your iliac crest. These stem cells are found in small numbers in most adult tissues, such as bone marrow or fat. Compared with embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells have a more limited ability to give rise to various cells of the body. However, emerging evidence suggests that adult stem cells may be able to create various types of cells in the body. For instance, bone marrow stem cells may be able to create bone or heart muscle cells in the future. The harvesting procedure is done under moderate/deep sedation and results in excellent yield of stem cells that can be injected into joints, tissue, tendons and disks.
Perinatal stem cell (allogenic) sources are purchased from a well-respected international supplier that utilizes independent labs to verify cell counts and viability of their product. This product is derived from consenting mothers who sell the placenta after delivery of their child for consideration of use in regenerative practices. These placentas (and mothers) are checked for irregularities and pass strict testing protocols in order to be processed and used for other applications to assure that there are no contaminations or risks to the recipient by the product. By law, no babies or mothers experience adverse effects related to the harvesting process of these products. This is the least-invasive way to participate in stem cell therapy.
There are currently no large-scale randomized controlled trials that advocate or discourage the use of stem cell therapy for chronic pain conditions. For this reason, regenerative medicine is still deemed experimental in the United States. It is not covered by insurance or Medicare. However, the results are so impressive that Stephen Curry, Peyton Manning, and Kobe Bryant are traveling to receive the same therapy that we offer our patients. Our intention is not to rely solely on regenerative therapy, but rather to use it as part of a rational, balanced, and economical approach to providing you the best outcome that lasts the longest with the fewest side effects.
Are your ready to learn more about regenerative medicine with Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine in Colorado Springs? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced pain management physicians. Thank you for considering regenerative medicine therapy with Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine.
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