Regenerative medicine is a form of tissue engineering and molecular biology which deals with the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function”. When injured or invaded by disease, our bodies have the innate response to heal and defend. Harnessing and enhancing the body’s own regenerative powers is a medical practice at the frontier of present-day advancements whose properties may seem miraculous to those who benefit from them. The miracle, however, is the result of scientific exploration that has begun to unlock and utilize the body’s extraordinary ability to heal and restore itself.
Everyone has heard of the advancement of stem cell therapy and its miraculous benefits. Stem cells help to regulate inflammation, which cause various autoimmune diseases and reduce pain in arthritic conditions, they promote the formation of new blood vessels necessary to bring nutrients to damaged areas to repair and regenerate new circulation in peripheral artery disease. Stem cell therapy outcome is very dependent on the age of the patient they are being harvested from, i.e. our stem cells are as old as we are and diminish with age…hence the aging process. Equally important in regenerative medicine, especially for patients over the age of fifty, are components such as collagens, cytokines, proteins, growth factors, the list goes on.
Cells are the building blocks of tissue, and tissues are the basic unit of function in the body. Generally, groups of cells make and secrete their own support structures, called the extracellular matrix. This matrix, or scaffold, does more than just support the cells; it also acts as a relay station for various signaling molecules. Thus, cells receive messages from many sources that become available from the local environment.
Each signal can start a chain of responses that determine what happens to the cell. Through medical technology we can now understand how individual cells respond to signals, interact with their environment, and organize themselves into a healing process. Scaffolds are created utilizing various regenerative medicine therapies allowing the tissue to “self- assemble.”
The “main function” of stem cells in adult tissue is to repair and regenerate the tissue in which they reside. Stem cell “plasticity” refers to the ability of adult stem cells to acquire mature phenotypes that are different from their tissue of origin.
Our bodies are comprised of cells allowing regenerative medicine therapies to work for us in a broad range of conditions including, but not limited to:
conditions of the spine