Nowadays, individuals trying to avoid surgery have more therapy options. Can regenerative medicine help treat neuromusculoskeletal injuries?
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Regenerative medicine utilizes the body’s raw cells and is used in cancer treatment and to reduce the risk of infections. (American Cancer Society. 2020) Researchers are looking for other ways to use these cells in medical therapies.
What are These Cells
- Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can develop into any cell and in certain cases renew themselves an unlimited number of times. (National Institutes of Health. 2016)
- These cells are found in embryos and adult cells.
- There are two types of cells – pluripotent and somatic. (National Institutes of Health. 2016)
- These cells can transform and become any of the cells in the body.
- Somatic cells or adult stem cells can form tissue or an entire organ. (National Institutes of Health. 2016)
Regenerative cell therapy uses these cells as a treatment for a disease or condition.
- Regenerative cells are given to individuals to replace cells that have been destroyed or have died.
- In the case of cancer, they may be used to help the body regain the ability to produce regenerative cells after treatment. (American Cancer Society. 2020)
- For individuals with multiple myeloma and certain types of leukemia, regenerative cell therapy is used to eliminate cancer cells.
- The therapy is called graft-versus-tumor effect/GvT, where a donor’s white blood cells/WBCs are used to eliminate the cancerous tumor. (American Cancer Society. 2020)
What They Can Treat
This is a new treatment that is still going through research. The Food and Drug Administration has only approved it for certain cancers and conditions that affect the blood and immune system. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019) Regenerative cell therapy is FDA-approved to treat: (National Cancer Institute. 2015)
- Multiple myeloma
- It is also used to decrease the risk of infection after regenerative cell transplantation in individuals with blood cancers. (U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2023)
Researchers are studying how these cells can treat other conditions. Clinical trials are analyzing how to use the therapy for neurodegenerative diseases like:
- Multiple sclerosis – MS
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS. (Riham Mohamed Aly. 2020)
During regenerative cell therapy, the cells are given through an intravenous line. The three places where blood-forming cells can be obtained are bone marrow, the umbilical cord, and blood. Transplants can include: (American Cancer Society. 2020)
- The cells are taken from the individual who will be receiving the therapy.
- The cells are donated by another individual.
- The cells come from an identical twin, if there is one.
The therapy has shown to provide benefits but there are risks.
- One risk is known as graft-versus-host disease – GVHD.
- It occurs in one-third to half of allogeneic recipients.
- This is where the body does not recognize the donor’s white blood cells and attacks them causing problems and symptoms throughout the body.
- To treat GVHD medications are given to suppress the immune system to stop attacking the donor cells. (American Cancer Society. 2020)
Other potential risks can include: (American Cancer Society. 2020)
- Cancer relapse
- New cancer
- Hepatic veno-occlusive disease
- Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder – PTLD
The future of regenerative cell therapy is promising. Research is ongoing to find out how these cells can treat conditions and find new ways to treat and cure diseases.
Regenerative medicine has been researched for over twenty years for conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. (National Institutes of Health. 2022) This therapy is a new medical treatment that could be used in future therapies as part of a multidisciplinary approach to neuromusculoskeletal injuries and conditions.
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American Cancer Society. (2020). How stem cell and bone marrow transplants are used to treat cancer.
National Institutes of Health. (2016). Stem cell basics.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Stem cell and exosome products.
National Cancer Institute. (2015). Stem cell transplants in cancer treatment.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2023). FDA approves cell therapy for patients with blood cancers to reduce risk of infection following stem cell transplantation.
Aly R. M. (2020). Current state of stem cell-based therapies: an overview. Stem cell investigation, 7, 8. doi.org/10.21037/sci-2020-001
American Cancer Society. (2020). Stem cell or bone marrow transplant side effects.
National Institutes of Health. (2022). Putting stem cell-based therapies in context.
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The information herein on "Exploring Regenerative Medicine for Treatments" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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