One of the exciting new trends in pain management is the availability of regenerative medicine injections. These new therapies involve stem cell substances along with growth factors that have the capability of repairing and regenerating injured tissue as opposed to simply masking pain symptoms.
Here is the latest on the various Regenerative Medicine options available
The first option involves harvesting either bone marrow or fat from the patient. When stem cell research first started researchers looked at embryonic stem cells for tissue regeneration. The good news with this was that embryonic stem cells can differentiate into virtually any cell type in the body. The bad news was that the cells often did not know when to stop reproducing, and the chance of a cancer forming was possible.
Therefore, the stem cell products coming into reality use mesenchymal stem cells rather
than embryonic. The cells are still able to differentiate into numerous cell types, and do not have the problem with cancer formation by not knowing when to stop replicating.
When bone marrow is taken from an individual, it is usually harvested from the iliac crest and then immediately processed and reinjected into the area of interest. The same goes with harvesting of fat and then processing it immediately to reinject.
While these injection types appear to have some clinical benefit, there are no human studies available which definitively show benefit yet statistically.
Amniotic Fluid Stem Cell Rich Substances
One promising avenue for stem cell injection therapy is with amniotic fluid based substances. The amniotic fluid has exponentially more stem cells than an adult’s bone marrow. The amniotic fluid is harvested from consenting donors who undergo a C-section, whereas it would normally be discarded.
The fluid is processed at an FDA regulated laboratory, and even though it is going into an unrelated individual it turns out that it is an immunologically privileged situation. No host versus graft reactions have been seen in thousands of uses.
Today, clinical studies have shown excellent benefits of amniotic fluid derived stem cell rich injections for spinal fusion, wound healing for difficult wounds such as diabetes, adhesion barrier around the spinal cord, and initial small studies showing benefits for tendinitis, tendinosis, ligament injury and osteoarthritis.
The additional benefit of amniotic fluid derived injections is that no harvesting if necessary from the patient. The fluid is processed at an FDA registered lab and screened for a comprehensive amount of diseases. It is then cryogenically stored until the pain clinic in Phoenix is ready to use it. It’s a very exciting regenerative medicine possibility with amniotic based stem cell rich injections.
The third avenue for regenerative medicine injections is called platelet rich plasma, or PRP therapy. This involves taking a blood draw from a patient’s arm of between 20 and 60 mL of whole blood. The blood is then placed into a centrifuge device and spun very quickly to separate into multiple layers.
This provides a highly concentrated solution of platelets along with various growth factors for injection into the problem area.
So far, three professional sports leagues along with the World Anti-doping Agency have approved of PRP use. Initial studies are showing benefits for tendinitis, tendinosis, ligament injuries, bursitis and degenerative osteoarthritis.
With a procedure that has such a low risk, and potentially huge benefit, it is rapidly increasing in popularity. Especially considering that multiple professional athletes have had the procedure performed including Tiger Woods, Hines Ward, and Troy Polamolu.
With multiple options for regenerative medicine now in the clinical reality, it is exciting that we are now entering regenerative medicine for real. Larger studies will show which of these regenerative medicine injection treatments best serves those with soft tissue injury or arthritis.
Arizona Pain Specialists offers multiple options for regenerative medicine. The first is PRP therapy. They just completed Phase 1 of an FDA clinical trial looking at stem cell injections in the disc space and are in the initial phases of starting a stem cell injection study for arthritic spinal joints and extremity joints.
All of this is cutting edge treatment. If you are having back, neck or joint pain and would like the most modern Phoenix pain management treatment available, call (602) 507-6550 today!