Regeneration with Stem Cells

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

New and current Regenerative Medicines can use stem cells to create living and functional tissues to regenerate and repair tissue and organs in the body that are damaged due to age, disease and congenital defects. Stem cells have the power to go to these damaged areas and regenerate new cells and tissues by performing a repair and a renewal process, restoring functionality. Regenerative medicine has the potential to provide a cure to failing or impaired tissues.

Regenerative medicine is an emerging branch of medicine with the goal of restoring organ and/or tissue function for patients with serious injuries or chronic disease in which the bodies own responses are not sufficient enough to restore functional tissue. A growing crisis in organ transplantation and an aging population have driven a search for new and alternative therapies. There are approximately 90,000 patients in the US transplant-waiting list. In addition there are a wide array of major unmet medical needs which might be addressed by regenerative technologies.

Source:  M.E. Furph, “Principles of Regenerative Medicine”  (2008)

Stem cells are found naturally in all people

Stem cells are the repairmen of the body.  The type of adult stem cell that is most often seen in research as being associated with tissue repair is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC).  These cells are formed in the bone marrow and usually travel to the injured areas within the body via the blood stream.  If the injured area has a poor blood supply then the body is not able to get enough of these and other repair cells to the injured areas.  This can occur in joints, meniscus tissue, rotator cuffs, spinal discs, and other tendon injuries.  These are areas that typically do not heal on their own.   Since there can be a poor blood supply in this area, the body has trouble sensing an injury is present.    By delivering stem cells and growth factors to this area by concentrating and injecting them, we are mimicking an improved blood supply allowing the body to then heal the damaged tissues and repair itself.

How are stem cell treatments performed?

Stem cells are collected by aspirating bone marrow from the back of the patient’s pelvis.  The bone marrow aspirate is a bloody substance that is removed from the pelvis through a small needle.  There is usually minimal discomfort with this procedure since the area is well anesthetized with a local anesthetic.  This aspirate contains mesenchymal stem cells, platelets, and other types of growth factors.

The bone marrow is placed in a special container.  The container is then placed into a machine called a centrifuge.  This machine spins the bone marrow at a very fast speed causing the stem cells and platelets to be separated from the rest of the blood products.  It is this concentration of stem cells and other critical factors found in bone marrow that is injected back into the injured area.  

Once introduced back into the body, the platelets and stem cells work together to repair the damaged tissues nearby.  In addition to repairing the damage, the stem cells encourage the damaged cells to repair themselves and also take part in the repair process. 

How long does it take to see results?

The complete repair can take 2-3 months but improvement is usually felt within a few weeks.  

For more information about how stem cell therapies can repair and regenerate your damaged tissues and treat your knee, shoulder, hip and back pain, please contact our center.