The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers regenerative medicine the “next evolution of medical treatments” and “the vanguard of 21st century healthcare.” As this regenerative medicine focuses on the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function;” offering solutions and hope for people afflicted with conditions that are beyond repair or traditional medicine and traditional drugs can not treat. Additionally, it focuses on treating patients’ conditions rather than treating symptoms. The field of regenerative is one “that can change the paradigm of our current healthcare system.”A prominent topic in is the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine.
As mentioned in our previous post, stem cells have unique regenerative properties, allowing for the ability to grow or re-grow organs and tissues, thereby replacing or rejuvenating organs damaged by injury, congenial defects or disease with healthy and functioning tissues.
Stem cell treatments are not a novelty to the medical field. Since the 1970’s patients with conditions or diseases of the blood and immune system, such as leukemia or lymphoma have been successfully treated by stem cell therapy, better known as bone marrow transplants. In the 1980’s skin stem cells have been used to treat patients with extensive burns.
Mesenchymal stem cells are of extraordinary interest as they are stem cells found in various places in the adult human body. More importantly, they give rise to cell types in a variety of tissues including bone cells, cartilage cells, fat cells, pancreatic islet cells and connective tissue cells such as those found in tendons. In certain experimental models, these cells also have some ability to modify immune functions. Therefore, they have the potential to treat a wide range of acute degenerative diseases including a range of musculoskeletal abnormalities, cardiac disease and some immune abnormalities.
Recent advances include the use of mesenchymal stem cells to:
- Regenerate damaged cartilage
- Regeneration of the meniscus (knee)
- Regeneration of damaged tendons
- Repair of bone fractures
Mesenchymal stem cells are most prolific within blood vessels located in adipose (fat) tissue. Additionally making them a readily accessible source, as they can be easily removed from the body.
*Stromal Vascular Fraction Cells (SVFCs) can re-grow blood vessels to:
- Treat peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Treat diabetes-related circulatory damage
- Treat age-related circulatory damage
- Restore circulation to tissue damaged by disease or injury
- Repair heart muscle damaged by heart attack or disease
*Stromal Vascular Fraction Cells (SVFCs) can also aid in the regeneration of bone, fat, cartilage and smooth muscle to repair:
— Disease-related tissue damage
— Injury-related tissue damage
*National Stem Cell Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports peer-reviewed research and clinical trial collaborations in the field of adult stem cell therapies with the potential to treat or cure conditions and diseases affecting people worldwide.