Stem cell treatments…regenerative medicine…These terms are relatively new in the world of medicine, but what do they really mean? With a potential to treat and cure diseases that can sometimes be debilitating, these treatments come with a lot of excitement and great potential.
To start, let’s dive into what a stem cell actually is. Stem cells are cells in the body that are able to regenerate themselves through cell division. They also have the ability to transform and grow into different types of tissue. It is also important to note that stem cells can be collected early on in their lifecycle or later on in their lifecycle.
Early stem cells can be collected from donated embryos that were not used during in vitro fertilization. With this practice comes a lot of debate regarding the ethical use of these embryos, however, recent research has shifted to studying the use of adult stem cells where there is no ethical debate.
Adult stem cells have the ability to transform and grow into tendon, ligament, cartilage and other orthopedic tissues. By Injecting adult stem cells into the area of an injury, damaged tissue is prompted to heal. Further, the property of differentiation provides stem cells the ability to heal tissues that the body is otherwise unable to regenerate due to poor blood supply.
A good example of this is an arthritic joint suffering from the loss of articular cartilage that lines the end of bones. As this cartilage wears away, the body is unable to grow new cartilage and, unfortunately, pain ensues. At this time, a patient may turn to medications, therapy and injections as a means of pain management, however, these options can only do so much. The next step would be surgical joint replacement, which can often be a drastic means of recovery, but all of these measures are ultimately avoidable. Enter, stem cell treatments. With the ability to regrow cartilage, relieve pain and avoid surgery all together, this type of treatment can help avoid ongoing medications, physical therapy and daunting surgery.
The types of stem cells used in orthopedic cases can be harvested from the following 3 sources, which are selected based on individual patient factors:
- Bone Marrow (Collected from the pelvic bone)
- Adipose Tissue (Collected through a liposuction procedure)
- Fetal Umbilical Cords (*)
With the popularity and success of stem cell treatments on the rise, the FDA has begun taking a closer look at a number of different stem cell procedures. Fortunately, the orthopedic procedures discussed here fall under the permitted guidelines set forth by the FDA and are offered by Jersey Shore Regenerative Medicine, a division of Jersey Shore Sports Medicine. If you think that you may be a candidate for stem cell or regenerative treatments, give us a call at 609-904-2565 and join the conversation with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
*Umbilical cord donations are agreed to by healthy mothers prior to delivery. They are donated following the delivery of full term, healthy babies by scheduled Cesarean section. The tissues are preserved and processed by the individual companies. Each company follows all rules and regulations established by the Food & Drug Administration and American Association of Tissue Banks.