When it comes to “Regenerative Medicine” there is a lot of misinformation and false truths out there. Many people hear the name and jump to the conclusion that it’s either science fiction mumbo jumbo… or a magical cure.
While there are bad actors that are making outrageous claims of finding the fountain of youth, some will claim that regenerative medicine is a risky and unproven treatment that should be banned. And in most cases, both of these groups don’t actually know what regenerative medicine is!
So what’s fact and what’s fiction? The truth is that there is growing research showing what regenerative medicine can and can’t do, and we are constantly staying up to date with the latest in scientific evidence. We created this article to help you understand more about this remarkable medical field and its benefits. Let’s take a look at the top 5 myths about regenerative medicine.
Unfortunately, the scientific fact that we have cells in our body that can grow or differentiate into different tissues has been glamorized and mixed up with the science fiction that these cells can be used to regrow damaged body parts.
While there is some remarkable research in the lab setting that is showing promise for true organ growth and regeneration, the reality is that regenerative medicine is a misnomer. Although we have some research in support of healing certain injuries, we are not regrowing your joints. The good news is that regenerative medicine treatments can improve the natural biology of a joint, which in turn can improve your body’s ability to heal itself, strengthen tissues, decrease pain, and ultimately get you back to living your life! Regenerative medicine is being used today to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions. These include knee injuries like osteoarthritis, ACL and other ligament tears, rotator cuff and other tendon tears, lower back pain, neck pain, knee, hip, hand, wrist, and foot issues.
This statement is actually both true and false! There are many patients that are told that a regenerative medicine treatment may reverse their arthritis or regrow the cartilage fully, but unfortunately that just isn’t correct. For this reason, some orthopedic surgeons and other physicians will say that these treatments are not beneficial. However, there are already many studies in support of treatment for knee arthritis, tendinopathy, and low back conditions. Additionally there continues to be ongoing research supporting regenerative medicine for various body regions including the spine, hips, shoulders, and almost every other joint. These treatments can help patients avoid major surgery and a lengthy rehab and recovery time.
When people hear about a revolutionary new medical procedure or treatment, they assume it’s risky. Regenerative medicine is not dangerous as it uses the body’s own materials to propel the healing process.
The latest technology and equipment is used to extract a small amount of blood and cells. After minimal processing, the orthobiologic solutions are injected back into the part of the patient’s body where it is needed to help recovery.
Although there are some in the past that have expressed concern about causing cancer when treatments involve “cell therapy” there is no evidence to suggest that cancer will be caused by orthobiologic procedures using a patient’s own cells or blood. In fact, there have been at least two major studies demonstrating no increased risk of cancer (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24352775/, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00264-016-3162-y). However, we do not have major studies showing confirmed safety (or in many cases even efficacy) of treatments using donated “cell therapy” that are not from your own body.
There are still the usual risks associated with any injection procedure, such as the risks of bleeding or infection associated that are technically present even when getting your blood drawn. But since the material comes from the patient’s own body there is a very low risk of a bad reaction. We use the safest sterile techniques and image-guidance to ensure the least amount of risks. And since regenerative medicine does not involve the use of solutions such as steroids which have their own set of side effects, overall these procedures are safer than usual injection treatments. When compared to major surgery, regenerative medicine of course has fewer risks.
Most organs in the human body contain their own cells. Bones and fat tissue have cells that can be used in regenerative medicine, however the “cell therapy” are not the only ingredient in these tissues that may provide benefit. Regenerative medicine treatments therefore do not require the use of embryonic cells.
There are some that are claiming that “cell therapy” products from umbilical cord, placenta, or amniotic tissue are better than treatments using a patient’s own cells because these are “younger” and therefore closer to embryonic cells. Not only is there no comparative research in support of this false claim, but we actually have data that shows that age does not necessarily affect the benefit of treatments using your own cells! Furthermore, the risks of things like tissue rejection and cancer certainly make more sense when using tissue from another person’s body!
Finally, it is important to note that none of the “cell therapy” products available currently in the US actually contain a viable amount of living cells. Many of these products have been independently tested and claiming these are cell products is a blatant lie. Furthermore, these “cell therapy” and “exosome” products are blatantly illegal per the FDA because they do not have sufficient research for safety in humans, let alone efficacy for any orthopedic condition. For more information, please read this letter from the FDA https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/consumers-biologics/important-patient-and-consumer-information-about-regenerative-medicine-therapies. If you have been offered a “cell therapy” or “exosome” product treatment outside of a clinical trial for which the FDA has oversight, please contact the FDA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While there are many that are claiming that “cell therapy” can cure anything and everything under the sun, the reality is that regenerative medicine is not magic. Several studies show the benefits of “cell therapy” in helping fight many serious diseases, but there is no robust research showing that anything can be fully cured.
The good news is that research is continuing to progress with great promise. Regenerative Medicine has already has ongoing research showing effectiveness in the treatment of orthopedic injuries and pain conditions involving the knees, back & neck, and various other joints. There are also studies underway in regards to how regenerative medicine may help heart and lung conditions, stroke, and even spinal cord injury, however these types of treatments are still very early in the research stages.
Dr. Shounuck Patel, D.O. of The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration, is the leading specialist in Regenerative Medicine. He is famous for providing exceptional patient care and giving patients the most educated opinion in regards to their treatment.
Dr. Patel uses state-of-the-art technology to treat patients’ conditions, with the goal to get them back enjoying the activities they love.
Talk to the experienced team at The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration about their non-surgical treatments. For more information contact Dr. Patel’s patient concierge at email@example.com.