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Why is Regenerative Medicine So Revolutionary?

Regenerative medicine for musculoskeletal injury is a new, rapidly evolving field of medicine where the body rebuilds and regenerates itself. Regenerative medicine has been thrust into the limelight due to high profile athletes such as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, golfer Tiger Woods and football player Hines Ward  utilizing regenerative treatment methods rather than undergoing surgery.

High-profile athletes garner all the attention when it comes to regenerative medicine, but they are not the only ones to benefit. Athletes, middle-age and elderly folks can certainly benefit from the variety of regenerative modalities that can seemingly turn back the clock and prevent the need for interventional procedures.


Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells

Stem cell research is nothing new. Stem cell therapy has been used in clinical settings for over 70 years for treatment on serious conditions like leukemia. In terms of pain management, stem cell research and therapy is still in its nascent form, but doctors are hopeful stem cells can take pain management and treatment to the next level.

Hines Ward (a football star) recovered in only 2 weeks from a knee MCL sprain with the help of PRP and helped the Steelers win a Super Bowl!


That is what compels R3 to participate in research that is cutting edge, safe and has the potential to heal damaged soft tissue and cartilage conservatively with outpatient procedures. Anecdotally, it has helped hundreds of athletes get back on the field quickly participating in high level competition after sustaining ligament and tendon injuries.

One of the most recent regenerative medicine techniques utilizes  amniotic fluid. The membrane is particularly effective for treating wounds, and is used extensively in plastic surgery and ophthalmology. The application of  amniotic fluid to musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, ligament injury, rotator cuff tendonitis and arthritis is currently generating a lot of discussion. Small studies have shown promising results in treating some of these conditions, and the larger study being conducted by R3 will help shed light on the true benefits.


Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is the procedure many athletes are undergoing in an effort to treat various conditions including tendonitis, arthritis, chronic joint inflammation, cartilage defects, and muscle strains. Platelet-rich plasma therapy uses the patients’ own blood to control pain and increase functionality.​​

The blood is centrifuged and separated into three layers – the serum, platelets and white blood cells, and red blood cells. The platelets release over 1,000 biologically active proteins that facilitate tissue regeneration. There have been several human and animal studies that have shown very promising results, such as the 2012 study out of the Hospital for Special Surgery showing its benefit for knee arthritis. Another study showed that a platelet serum injected into a damaged Achilles tendon in a laboratory animal significantly increased tendon strength and stiffness as well as increased tendon strength and fast-twitch responses.​

When Hines Ward was playing wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he sustained a medial collateral ligament sprain in the playoffs. The next day, he was injected with platelet rich plasma. Within two weeks, he returned to make two catches to help the Steelers win the Super Bowl.​

​“I think it really helped me. The injury that I had was a severe injury, maybe a four- or six-week injury. In order for me to go out there and play in two weeks, I don’t think anyone with a grade-2 M.C.L. sprain gets back that fast,” Hines Ward said about the PRP procedure.


Umbilical Cord Tissue Cell Therapy

Umbilical cord tissue cell therapy has been one of the most cutting edge regenerative procedures that is now available. R3’s Centers of Excellence nationwide have performed thousands of umbilical cord tissue therapies.

The umbilical cord tissue is obtained ethically from donors after a scheduled c-section, where the baby and mother are perfectly healthy. There are no embryonic stem cells used in the procedures. The umbilical cord tissue is processed along with Wharton’s Jelly and amniotic fluid at an FDA Certified facility using GMP techniques. To date, no known significant adverse events have occurred with umbilical cord tissue therapy at R3’s Centers.

The umbilical cord cell therapies include growth factors, exosomes, cytokines, microRNA and stem cells. Procedures are all outpatient and frequently help patients achieve an increased quality of life. While outcomes vary between individuals, patients often are able to walk farther, participate in recreational activities, breathe easier, sleep better and experience increased energy.


Exosome Therapy

Exosome therapy has been increasing in popularity over the last several years as more research comes out on what they are and what they can do. Interestingly, exosomes are not actually cells, but are cellular byproducts known as extracellular vesicles.

When the exosome is released from a cell (such as a stem cell), it contains significant information from that cell such as DNA and microRNA. As the exosome collides with a new cell and gets ingested, it then transfers that information to the cell. Depending on that cell, the reaction from that information transferred may be a repair response or a “reprogramming” of the cell.

Exosomes have been shown to be safe. No rejection occurs since there are no surface factors, and they cannot divide so tumors have not been seen to date.


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