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Your Guide to Regenerative Medicine: What It Is & Who It Benefits

Updated: Jun 7

Regenerative medicine - The Dearing Clinic

Regenerative medicine is the therapeutic practice of regenerating cells and tissues in the human body for the purpose of repairing damaged tissues and organs. Types of regenerative medicine include stem cell therapy, prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma, and viscosupplementation.


When you’re dealing with a chronic health condition, you want to find relief by almost any means necessary. And that means you’ve likely done a fair amount of research into healing treatments, ranging from nutritional therapies to medications and possibly even surgery. It also means this search likely led you here, to the point of wanting to learn more about regenerative medicine. 


The truth of the matter is that regenerative medicine is an emerging field of treatment that has gained a lot of attention in recent years, primarily because it offers hope to those who have previously been labeled as “untreatable” by conventional medicine. As a result, it’s revolutionizing healthcare as we know it.


From treating autoimmune diseases and healing chronic wounds and burns to repairing ligament and tendon injuries and even damaged heart tissue after a heart attack, regenerative medicine offers never-before-experienced opportunities for regaining your health and living the life you truly deserve. 


Keep reading to learn all about regenerative medicine, including what it is, who it’s for, how it works, the different types available to you, and so much more.


What Is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine is the innovative approach that involves harnessing your body's natural healing ability to address a wide range of issues, from chronic diseases to traumatic injuries. 


It goes beyond the conventional methods of treating symptoms by focusing on rejuvenating and activating your body's inherent ability to heal itself at a cellular level. By utilizing your body's own regenerative capabilities, this innovative approach not only alleviates troublesome symptoms but also targets the underlying causes of your conditions or injury, ultimately aiming to provide complete restoration and improved functionality. In fact, one of the key examples of regenerative medicine is the use of stem cells, which have the remarkable ability to develop into different types of cells in the body. 


As such, regenerative medicine offers a more sustainable and holistic approach to treatment and focuses on long-term healing. By utilizing a combination of advanced technologies, including stem cells and growth factors, your body is able to repair, replace, or regenerate damaged or diseased cells and tissues.


One of the more exciting aspects of regenerative medicine is that it’s not limited to treating specific ailments but also holds great promise for anti-aging and aesthetic enhancements. As research in regenerative medicine continues to advance, the possibilities for enhancing health and well-being are truly endless.


How Does Regenerative Medicine Work?

Regenerative medicine works by stimulating the body's natural healing processes and aiding in tissue repair and regeneration. It involves several innovative approaches, each tailored to address specific conditions and promote optimal healing outcomes.


But to truly appreciate how regenerative medicine works, it’s important to first understand that your body naturally possesses the ability to regenerate certain tissues, such as your skin and liver. The key to regenerative medicine lies in unlocking and enhancing this ability.


One of the fundamental concepts in regenerative medicine is the use of stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to develop into different types of specialized cells. They can be found in various tissues and organs throughout your body, such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord blood.


Essentially, there are two elements you need to know about stem cells: exosomes and mesenchymal stem cells.


Exosomes are small vesicles (or cellular containers) extracted by mesenchymal cells. They contain bioactive molecules, including proteins, lipids, and genetic material such as microRNAs. You can think of mesenchymal stem cells as the messengers that set up shop wherever they’re needed. Mesenchymal stem cells set off alerts to exosomes to signal where they are needed, but they also produce their own exosomes as well. 


Mesenchymal cells help to modulate your cells and are stored in and around your blood vessels. This means that whenever there’s an injury, these cells move to wherever the injury takes place to facilitate healing by secreting exosomes. 


In essence, you can think of mesenchymal cells as your body’s personal pharmacy and exosomes as the medication in the pharmacy.


Because these stem cells serve as the building blocks for new tissue growth and repair, they can be used to regenerate damaged or diseased tissues, such as cartilage, bone, muscle, or nerves. This is why regenerative medicine offers a promising avenue for treating conditions that were previously considered untreatable.


Additionally, one fascinating aspect of stem cells is their ability to self-renew, meaning they can divide and produce more stem cells or differentiate into specialized cell types. This characteristic makes them invaluable in regenerative medicine, as they can continuously replenish the supply of cells needed for repair and regeneration.


That said, the use of stem cells isn’t the only therapeutic application of regenerative medicine. In addition to stem cell therapy, another key technique is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. PRP is derived from your own blood and contains a high concentration of platelets, which are rich in growth factors that stimulate tissue repair and regeneration.


There are other types of regenerative medicine therapies, including prolotherapy and viscosupplementation, which we’ll explore in greater detail below. These therapies differ in that they involve the injection of other materials known to promote regeneration. 


7 Common Uses of Regenerative Medicine 

So, given its mechanism of action, what is regenerative medicine commonly used for? There are many well-established applications of regenerative medicine, and it’s important to note that they’re expanding every day. Currently, it’s used to treat a wide range of both acute and chronic conditions, helping many regain their quality of life and avoid invasive surgeries. Some common uses of regenerative medicine include:


1. Treating musculoskeletal injuries. Regenerative medicine is particularly effective in treating injuries to bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage because it helps to speed up healing, reduce pain, and improve overall function.


2. Managing chronic pain. Regenerative medicine techniques such as prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy can be used to alleviate chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, and more.


3. Enhancing wound healing. Regenerative medicine can accelerate the healing of chronic wounds, such as diabetic ulcers or pressure sores, by promoting the growth of new blood vessels and tissues.


4. Promoting neurological recovery. Stem cell therapy holds promise in treating neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries. By replacing damaged cells and promoting neural repair, it offers new hope in these challenging conditions.


5. Managing autoimmune disease. Regenerative medicine has shown potential in managing autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It aims to modulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote tissue repair.


6. Supporting heart health. Regenerative medicine is also being studied for its potential to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack. Researchers are exploring the use of stem cells, gene therapy, and tissue engineering to improve heart function and even prevent heart failure.


7. Aiding urological health. Finally, researchers are studying the potential of regenerative therapies to treat urinary incontinence, bladder dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, and even kidney diseases. By stimulating tissue regeneration and promoting the growth of healthy cells, regenerative medicine offers hope for patients seeking long-term solutions to these urological conditions.


4 Types of Regenerative Medicine

Now that you know what it is, how it works, and its most common uses, let’s take a closer look at the four types of regenerative medicine.


1. Stem Cell Therapy

As we discussed above, the most well-known form of regenerative medicine is stem cell therapy, which involves the use of stem cells to promote tissue regeneration and repair. These cells can be sourced from your own body or from donors.


Once injected or implanted into the affected area, stem cells differentiate into specialized cells to promote healing and reduce inflammation. Scientific studies have shown promising results of stem cell therapy in conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiac and liver diseases, and spinal cord injuries.


2. Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injection therapy, is a non-surgical treatment that involves injecting a solution of saline, dextrose (a type of sugar), and lidocaine into injured or damaged ligaments or tendons. This solution stimulates your body's natural healing response, encouraging the growth of new tissue and strengthening the affected area. 


Prolotherapy has been used successfully to treat conditions like chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and sports injuries. It offers a safe and effective alternative to invasive surgeries and long-term medication use.


3. Platelet rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses your own blood plasma, which is rich in platelets and growth factors, to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. The concentrated plasma is injected into the affected area to promote healing and reduce inflammation.


PRP therapy has shown promise in treating musculoskeletal injuries such as tendonitis, sprains, and strains. It can also be used in cosmetic procedures to promote skin rejuvenation.


During a PRP procedure, you will have a small amount of blood drawn and then processed to isolate the platelet-rich plasma. This concentrated plasma is then injected into the injured or damaged area, where it helps accelerate healing, reduce pain, and improve overall function. 


4. Viscosupplementation

Viscosupplementation involves injecting a gel-like substance called hyaluronic acid into the joint space to lubricate and cushion your joint. This treatment is commonly used for osteoarthritis, as it provides pain relief and improves joint mobility.


By replenishing your joint's natural lubrication, viscosupplementation helps to reduce inflammation and slow down the progression of arthritis.


5 Benefits of Regenerative Medicine

As you now know, regenerative medicine treats a variety of conditions largely because it offers numerous benefits for those seeking alternatives to traditional treatments. Here are of the key benefits of regenerative medicine.


1. Helps cool inflammation

Regenerative medicine therapies, specifically stem cell-based therapies, have been shown to help reduce inflammation, which is often the underlying cause of pain and tissue damage.


2. Supports pain reduction

By promoting tissue repair, regenerative medicine can help alleviate pain and reduce the need for long-term pain medications.


3. Promotes autophagy

Autophagy is the body's natural process of removing damaged, dying cells and debris. Regenerative medicine can enhance this process, promoting overall health and well-being.


4. Supports tissue regeneration and renewal

By stimulating the body's natural healing mechanisms, regenerative medicine can promote the regeneration and renewal of damaged tissues.


5. Helps treat neurological conditions

Stem cell therapy shows promise in treating neurodegenerative conditions, offering hope to patients suffering from disorders such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.


Special Considerations for Regenerative Medicine Use

While regenerative medicine offers incredible potential, there are a few special considerations to keep in mind. First, it’s essential to work with qualified healthcare professionals who specialize in regenerative medicine to ensure safe and effective treatment.


Additionally, regenerative medicine is a continually evolving field. As research progresses and new techniques emerge, it’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest advancements and regulatory considerations.


The field of regenerative medicine faces unique regulatory challenges due to its innovative nature. As such, different countries have varying regulations regarding the approval and use of regenerative medicine therapies.


Finally, you aren’t a candidate for regenerative medicine if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have a history of solid tumor cancer.

  • You’ve had seizures in the past. 

  • You’re over age 50. (Note: This applies to PRP therapy only. Those over age 50 are still elligible for other regenerative medicine therapies.)

  • You’re pregnant.


Moreover, it’s important to avoid the use of steroids for 30 days prior to treatment and avoid NSAIDs for three days after treatment.


Remember, regenerative medicine holds the power to revolutionize healthcare in ways we never thought possible. With its ability to tap into your body's natural healing capabilities, it offers new hope for patients across the globe. 


By understanding what regenerative medicine is, how it works, and the various applications and benefits it offers, you can now make informed decisions about your healthcare and explore the possibilities this exciting treatment has to offer.

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