If you’re considering treatment with regenerative therapies, or even if you’re just curious about it, you probably want to know what kind of results you can expect from it. Compared to other areas of medicine, regenerative medicine is in its infancy. Though people have long sought to harness the body’s natural capability to heal, the regenerative therapies that are practiced today only emerged a few decades ago. That means that we do not yet have an extensive literature on outcomes; there’s tremendous interest in researching regenerative medicine, but the vast majority of this research is still ongoing.
We can, however, look at the outcomes that have been achieved in the studies that have thus far been completed, as well as looking at examples of notable individuals who have used regenerative therapies to treat a variety of conditions. One outcome that has been consistent across studies is that negative side effects and adverse outcomes have been virtually nonexistent. A likely reason for this is that many types of regenerative treatment use only autologous stem cells or PRP, meaning that the cells, platelets, and plasma used in the procedures comes directly from the patient. However, even studies where allogeneic material (tissue taken from another adult donor rather than from the patient) was used show the same result. For example, a study from South Korea looking at the use of allogeneic stem cells and PRP to treat osteoarthritis of the knee recorded no adverse events. In that study, it was found that patients not only showed improvement in tissue regrowth and joint function after one year; they also showed continued improvement at two years.
Regenerative therapies show promise in many areas of medicine. Looking at examples of notable individuals who have been treated using different regenerative treatments gives a sense of the scope. Quarterback Peyton Manning (seen above) used stem cell therapy several years ago to aid in healing a neck injury that had been especially difficult to repair. He continued playing and even brought home another Super Bowl ring this year before recently announcing his retirement from football. Actor Gene Wilder received stem cell therapy back in 1999 as part of a multi-faceted approach to managing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; though this was just part of the treatment he underwent, Wilder’s cancer has since gone into remission. Jack Osbourne, son of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, has used stem cell therapy as part of his treatment for multiple sclerosis. Osbourne has succeeded in stabilizing his condition and keeping symptoms under control. And Argentinian soccer star Angel Di Maria returned to play last year after receiving stem cell therapy as treatment for a torn hamstring in 2014.
Every patient is different, and the success of any treatment depends on many different variables including the nature of your condition and your overall health. This is as true with long-established treatment protocols as it is with emerging therapies like regenerative medicine. The first step in determining whether a treatment could work for you is ensuring that you have an accurate diagnosis. At the Spine Institute Northwest, we don’t take a “one size fits all” approach to relieving pain. Instead, we are careful and methodical in examining each patient in order to recommend an appropriate intervention. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or dealing with an acute condition like a sports injury, the first step is to come in for a consultation. Call the Spine Institute Northwest at 206-496-0630 to get started.