Regenerative medicine is a branch of translational research that applies the concept of using tissue stem cells to aid in the development of medical therapies. The discipline focuses on changing and improving tissues and organs in living patients as opposed to using medication or complex surgical procedures to heal the body.
The field is also known as tissue engineering and biomedicine. As regenerative medicine has developed as a science, it is now possible to encourage the growth of skin, bone, and muscle from certain cells.
How Does It Work?
The process of regenerative medicine involves taking certain cells and modifying them in the laboratory to develop and grow human tissues and organs. It is an extension of stem cell research, where cells are taken from specific parts of the body and modified outside the patient’s body.
Unlike embryonic stem cells, which come from a blastocyst or early embryo, adult stem cells can be found in places like bone marrow, fat tissue, teeth, blood vessels, muscles (including cardiac), skin, liver lobules, kidney cortex, pancreas, retinal tissue, and brain/nerve tissue.
Adult stem cells have been widely used for over thirty years in bone marrow transplants. With this procedure, a healthy donors’ bone marrow cells are transplanted into a patient with an immune system deficiency to rebuild the blood and immune systems.
Stem cells that come from embryos or fetal tissue can be found in very limited supply, so they are often considered more valuable than the adult-derived stem cells. While embryonic stem cell research is still relatively new, it has already been used to create insulin-producing pancreas cells, which have been successfully transplanted into diabetic patients with encouraging results.
This type of progress can also be seen in various other therapies that involve injecting modified embryonic stem cells directly into the body to replace diseased or damaged regions of nonfunctional tissue. In studies on mice, scientists have been able to reverse heart failure by treating the animals’ damaged hearts with stem cells.
Is Regenerative Medicine Safe?
As with any type of medical therapy, there are pros and cons to regenerative medicine. It is still an experimental field, so doctors are limited in what they can do. However, clinical studies have shown that cell-replacement therapy is safe for patients who are suffering from damaged tissues or organs.
The safety of these procedures depends on the type of cells being used for treatment as well as how they’re taken out of the body and introduced back into the patient. The margin for error may be small, but it has not yet been proven unsafe when performed by qualified surgeons or physicians under laboratory conditions.
What You Can Expect?
Since regenerative medicine is still a developing science, there’s no way to say exactly what future treatments will involve. Patients who have conditions that cannot be treated through more traditional methods may benefit from the use of regenerative medicine as time progresses and more research is conducted.
However, as it is practiced now, this form of treatment involves adding a specific set of cells to a patient’s body in order to start generating new healthy tissue. For instance, in bronchial transplant treatments – which are often used to treat cystic fibrosis patients – stem cells are harvested from a healthy donors bone marrow to make new lung tissue for a patient in need.
This type of procedure doesn’t involve the use of embryonic stem cells or fetal tissue because adult stem cells can be sourced much easier and they’re not controversial sources for medical treatment. In fact, many doctors who specialize in regenerative medicine procedures use adult stem cells because it allows them to perform transplants within a shorter time without waiting for embryos to develop.
Regenerative medicine is an exciting new field of medical treatment that may have far reaching benefits, but there is still much research being conducted before it becomes widely available. The safety of regenerative procedures will largely depend on how well they can be performed and what success rates are achieved by qualified doctors over time so the future of this form of treatment has yet to be determined.
The Future of Regenerative Medicine
Whereas investigators currently utilize stem cell therapies to treat a number of conditions, scientists are now also looking at ways to repair damage from internal scar tissue formation – otherwise known as fibrosis – with the use of modified adult bone marrow stem cells.
Researchers have also been exploring the use of personalized therapies for patients with autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to these possible applications, scientists are considering the possibility of curing genetic conditions by replacing or repairing mutated cells with healthy ones. In one recent study, researchers were able to reverse the effects of progeria (rapid aging) in mice. By using viral vectors to deliver normal copies of certain genes into muscle cells taken from elderly mice, scientists managed to increase their lifespan significantly.
Regenerative Medicine at American Male Wellness
American Male Wellness uses regenerative medicine such as peptide therapy, to treat conditions caused by the aging process, the advancement of disease, and physical damage. Regenerative medicine can often help alleviate pain and improve mobility so you feel better faster. We utilize adult stem cell therapies for treating osteoarthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries and more!
We believe in techniques and treatments that heal the body from the inside-out. Call us today to get started with your free consultation!