Regenerative medicine is a promising field of medicine that works to restore function and structure to damaged organs and tissues. The ultimate goal of this type of medicine is to cure untreatable injuries as well as diseases. Creating solutions for permanently damaged organs opens up a whole new world of treatment possibilities for patients who are otherwise out of options. It also offers safer options compared to risky surgery and transplant rejection.
At Freedom Health Centers we do everything we can to ensure the health and wellbeing of our patients. When you suffer an injury or when your body is assaulted by disease, it tries to heal and defend itself. Regenerative medicine involves harnessing the body’s ability to heal. Researchers also aim to accelerate this ability to help the body heal more quickly and efficiently.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine isn’t a new idea. We’ve been using organ transplants and bone marrow transplants for decades. However, recent advancements are providing us with the opportunities to refine current regenerative therapies to develop new approaches. The ultimate goal is to fully heal damaged organs and tissues to offer hope to people suffering from conditions deemed irreparable.
Research is underway to make both in vivo and in vitro treatments for clinical use. In vivo involves studies and trials that are performed inside the living body. This includes stimulating previously irreparable organs. Whereas in vitro treatments are therapies studied inside laboratories.
Regenerative medicine focuses on four central areas:
- Medical devices and artificial organs
- Tissue engineering and biomaterials
- Cellular therapies
- Clinical translation
Medical Devices and Artificial Organs
Regenerative medicine works to improve a patient’s quality of life. We have the incredible technology to create new body parts from a patient’s own tissues and cells. We also have created a number of artificial organs. Organ donations of all types are at a critical low so the ability to provide an alternative solution through artificial organs or laboratory grown organs is incredible.
In many cases, artificial organs prolong the life of those waiting for an organ donation. These patients are in organ failure and need the transplant or artificial organ in order to live or have a better quality of life. Common artificial organs include:
- Ventricular assist devices
Advances in technology also allow us to create new body parts from the cells and tissues of a patient. This is the best way to eliminate tissue rejection. A number of children and teenagers have recently received urinary bladders which were grown from their own cells. This momentous occasion marks the first time laboratory-grown organs have been placed inside human patients.
Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials
The ultimate goal of regenerative medicine is to be able to maintain the body without the need to replace entire organs. Unfortunately, there are a number of diseases and injuries that cause significant damage. Our bodies cannot always recover from these things on their own. Currently, our only solution for some problems is a transplant. Transplants come with their own risks. Surgery itself is risky and there’s also a possibility of rejection.
We are on our way to engineering certain tissues such as heart valves from human cells. By growing a heart valve from the patient’s own cells, they face fewer complications than they would with an artificial transplant or an organ transplant. Tissue rejection will be non-existent as the tissue will be created from your own cells.
One day, regenerative medicine hopes to have the ability to repair tissue and organs without having to perform surgery at all. This would also eliminate significant risk to the patient in several ways.
Many individuals suffering from cancer go through a rigorous treatment process that destroys many of their healthy cells. Through bone marrow transplants we can help some of these people. However, finding a compatible donor is extremely difficult. However, Allografts containing stem cells, such as those in a newborn child’s umbilical cord, may possess the answer to regenerating vital systems. These Allografts containing stem cells have the potential to repair tissue loss from trauma and disease.
Regenerative medicine makes incredible progress every day. Clinical translation will put these therapies into active trials. This allows us to learn about the benefits as well as the limitations. We also learn more ways to utilize this type of medicine to treat an increasing number of health issues. As this new branch of medicine becomes more widely use, the benefits will be huge.
There are many conditions that regenerative medicine can help, either with improved treatment or potential cures. These include:
- Heart disease
- Valvular heart disease
- Spinal damage
- Nerve damage
- Much more
Learning more about Regenerative Medicine
There are three approaches to regenerative medicine that are interrelated.
Rejuvenation is about boosting your body’s ability to heal. Teams of researchers are studying the body’s ability to heal in some areas and lack of ability to heal in others. They are also researching how they can enhance the self-healing process.
Replacement uses healthy organs, tissues, or cells from a donor to replaced damaged organs, tissues, or cells. Regenerative medicine will expand the transplant opportunities by finding alternate options. This benefits patients as we suffer from donor shortage. It also eliminates the battle with organ rejections.
The goal of regeneration is to help tissues or organs suffering from disease or injury the opportunity to heal and regain function. Some examples of this would be bone marrow transplants or other cell-based therapy.
This branch of medicine also places a fair amount of focus on Allografts containing stem cells. Stem cells technology opens many doors. This is because Allografts containing stem cells possess the unique ability to develop into other cell types including:
- Brain cells
- Lung cells
- Skin cells
- And more
Research teams are focusing on a variety of stem cell types and how they can be used. They’re also working on bioengineering these versatile cells. This provides us with the opportunity to manage and treat diseases that would otherwise be untreatable. We’re on the dawn of a new horizon as far as medical possibility goes. A whole new world of possibility lays before us.
Freedom Health Centers is excited to offer the best possible treatment options for our patients. We also continue to study the advancements of regenerative medicine in hopes we can offer this incredible, life changing service to our own clientele. We also use the latest technology to offer the best solution for your unique needs.