Research suggests that regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy have considerable promise for treating a variety of conditions, but these treatments can still be difficult to access. The good news for thousands of people dealing with the wide variety of illnesses and injuries that could be helped with regenerative medicine is that bit by bit, it is becoming easier for more Americans to get these potentially revolutionary treatments.
The progress made by stem cell therapy is a good example of the path that regenerative medicine has taken in the US. Stem cells are the body’s master cells, able to reproduce and transform into any type of cell. We have stem cells in all parts of our bodies, but when tissue is damaged or diseased, injecting additional stem cells at the site of injury can help to spur healing. This is especially exciting for the treatment of common conditions like damaged vertebral discs and torn knee cartilage; in both of these cases, the damaged tissue normally has difficulty repairing itself. Introducing adult stem cells taken from the patient’s own body or from an adult donor encourages natural healing processes.
Stem cell therapy is still a relatively new area of medicine, which means that it can take a long time for the procedures to get FDA approval. There’s evidence though that stem cell science is gaining traction. For example, Forbes recently noted that for a practitioner to have an approved Biological License Application, he or she needs to be able to offer stem cell therapy. This indicates that the FDA recognizes the significance of this kind of treatment.
Many companies are coming out with new regenerative therapies, sending more into the approval pipeline. It is estimated that over $5 billion has been invested in developing new regenerative therapies. According to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, much of this is for treatments areas that are considered especially promising; these include heart disease, various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.
Several large pharmaceutical companies have also put considerable sums into researching new products and therapies that capitalize on the advancements being made in regenerative medicine. This is a good indication of what types of new technologies will be prioritized in the coming years, likely attracting more research and funding.
The outlook for regenerative therapies is promising, and it looks like regenerative medicine is poised to become more widely available to Americans in the near future. At the Spine Institute Northwest, we are already treating patients with regenerative therapies including stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP). These procedures can be used for many different applications; some patients have chosen to have stem cell injections at the site of their minimally invasive spine procedures.
Want to learn more about the treatment options offered at the Spine Institute Northwest? Call us today at 206-496-0630.