Imagine a situation where you could cause an injury to heal naturally? Or you could cause damaged tissues and organs to heal naturally. This would make a great difference in your life wouldn’t’ it? This would results in more natural healing of injuries and chronic diseases. Regenerative medicine including stem cell therapy and platelet rich therapy makes this possible, and this appears to be the future of medicine.
Many case studies have testified to the effectiveness of stem cell therapy. It is effective for all ailments ranging from spinal stenosis, herniated discs, damage of the knee ligament, to torn rotator cuffs. Stem cell therapy can do virtually everything.
Some interesting research and case studies have been carried out in the United States, Mexico, Panama, and Ukraine. It therefore appears that medicine has a bright future if any tissue or cell can be regenerated.
What is platelet-rich plasma?
Platelet rich plasma is known informally as PRP. It is a non-surgical, and non-invasive therapy that encourages natural healing of the body. Platelet-rich therapy helps with many medical issues, such as:
- Tendon injuries
- Hair loss or baldness
- Minimize inflammation
- Pulled or sprained muscles
- Ligament or tendon repair usually after surgery
- Chronic tendon injuries
- Overuse injuries
Platelet rich plasma therapy involves the drawing of a small amount of blood. The platelets are separated from the serum using a centrifuge. This highly concentrated platelet-rich plasma is the injected into the area that is injured. Risk of side effects associated with platelet-rich therapy is very low. This is owing to the fact that the platelets are derived from the patient’s own blood. Stem cell therapy is also incorporated into some platelet rich plasma therapies.
About stem cell therapies
Stem cells are basically undifferentiated cells. What this means is that they have the potential to become just any kind of cell. Theoretically, the implication is that injection of stem cells into a person could result in the creation of new cells that will form tissues required to heal the damaged area. Stem cells are of two main categories: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells may develop into any kind of cells. This means that they have a very wide application – much wider than the adult stem cells. Research indicates that the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood may be a good resource of embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells can be sourced from any part of the body, but in many cases are taken from adipose tissue and the bone marrow. When stem cells are extracted from an adult tissue, they will develop into the parent tissue. Thus, their applications are very limited.
There has been a great deal of development in stem cell medicine. As a matter of fact, scientists have found out that the umbilical cord and the placenta, is rich in viable content for mesenchymal stem cell extraction. Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into cells that effectively treat autism, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and a host of other health conditions.
Stem cells derived from adipose tissue have miraculously helped in the treatment of quadriplegics, Amyolateral sclerosis, and a host of other neurological ailments.
Their mechanism of action?
Platelet rich therapy works by injecting the body with a very high concentration of the body’s growth and healing factors (up to 10 times the amount), thus hastening the process. Platelets enhance the clotting process, stimulate the production of collagen, and speed up the healing of wounds and regeneration of tissues (ligaments and tendons).
Conversely, stem cell therapy works via stem cell transplant from the donor to repair and regenerate damaged organs or tissues. There is a high risk of the stem cell being rejected during the transplant, hence the need for immune suppressive medications.
The major distinction between platelet rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy is that the former is derived from the patient’s own body, thus minimizing the risk of rejection, and also avoiding some ethical issues. Also, platelet rich plasma enhances growth and other signals. Conversely, stem cells therapy allows the infusion of fresh cells into the site to enhance growth and regeneration.
Any controversy around the two therapies?
The stem cell controversy is due to the fact that the most viable and versatile stem cells come from embryos. Because it involves human embryos, this area of research has widely debatable ethical implications. In fact, the controversies caused the George Bush led government to cut short the funding for stem cell research for a while.
At the moment, stem cell treatment is used mainly for the treatment of some blood disorders and accident (burn) victims. Some stem cell facilities gave promised to provide treatment for many diseases and injuries, aging inclusive.
Is stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma therapy the future of medicine?
Both platelet rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy are capable of causing a revolution in the healthcare industry, just as other areas of regenerative medicine. If the hypotheses is backed by further research, then it could cause a great change in the ways in which diseases and injuries are treated.
That notwithstanding, the task at hand revolves around validating the theories, especially that involving the transplantation of embryonic stem cells. There is more research backing the workability of platelet rich plasma therapy. However, it is yet to be approved by the FDA.
In the field of regenerative medicine, there are endless capabilities and of course, lots of untapped potentials. However, there is need for more research, but the results from clinical trials looks promising.
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