Regenerative medicine works by harnessing our body’s innate ability to repair damaged tissue and to restore structure and function to damaged areas of the body. A good example of this is the ability to treat an arthritic joint without surgery or harmful steroid injections. These regenerative treatments are truly a game changer as compared with the standard tools and treatments of modern medicine. For example, drug interventions such as ibuprofen, steroid injections or lubricating injections for joint pain are not healing the cartilage of the joint. At best, they help manage the painful conditions or block the pain temporarily. These interventions do not address the root causes of the pain and have significant side effects. This also applies to many other types of degenerative conditions such as spinal disc degeneration, hair loss or neuronal degeneration which can lead to memory problems. Regenerative medicine on the other hand operates on a completely different principle. The goal of regenerative medicine is to help the body heal and thus enable the body to return as close as possible to its normal function and structure.
Let’s use the example of treating an injured or arthritic joint, such as the knee or hip joint. A routine regenerative medicine treatment would be an autologous bone marrow stem cells joint injection procedure. Stem cells have innate intelligence and the unique capacity to help in multiple ways. For example, they will recognize the damage to the joint and initiate the healing process. You might wonder how could stem cells recognize damage to a joint or organ? It is actually an extremely fascinating and well researched phenomenon. There is an innate intelligence in all aspects of our body and in any living organism, including single cells, to assess the local environment. A single cell can sense chemical distress molecules that a damaged cartilage cell releases when it’s dying or injured. Stem cells not only can sense those molecules and will be attracted to the damaged area, they can send out their own molecules to signal other stem cells from the reservoir of stem cells that everybody has in the body, to migrate into the damaged joint and help in the healing process. Stem cells can also excrete molecules that the weakened cell needs to nurse it back to health. Stem cells can even donate mitochondria to damaged cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells and are essential for cell life. These are very powerful healing properties that stem cells regenerative medicine treatments have that can help to heal and restore structure and function.
We discussed joints, now let’s talk about hair. As we age, many of us start losing hair follicles. They become less effective in producing hair, they produce thinner hair and eventually die. Some of us are lucky enough not to have thinning hair, but it’s a very common issue that most people face. Regenerative medicine is a powerful treatment that can increase the thickness of the hair. If the hair follicle is completely dead, such as when the scalp is bald and there are absolutely no hair follicles, it’s not going to replace those hair follicles with new hair follicles. But, in the initial stages of thinning hair when the hair follicles produce less hair and thinner pieces of hair, the regenerative treatment has the significant potential to reverse the thinning process.
Another great treatment with regenerative medicine is to help improve brain function in patients with various dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Regenerative medicine helps to restore various neuronal interconnections and helps nourish nerve cells back to health. It is not a cure for the condition and is not going to turn someone with dementia whose brain is severely compromised back into how they were when they were young, however, it’s a very promising and exciting treatment with significant clinical practice evidence of slowing down and often improving memory loss. It has also been used by many physicians to help improve some of the deficits that are present after a stroke.
To reiterate, our bodies have an innate ability to repair damaged tissue and heal at any age. Regenerative medicine activates this powerful healing ability of our body.