The stem cell therapies that are currently available are a small percentage of what researchers and doctors believe will be on-hand in what should be a relatively small number of years. But even at this point in their development, stem cell treatments are causing great excitement and drawing a lot of interest from the medical community. Many doctors have found them to be effective. And the fact that the substances needed for the treatments are readily available and can often be harvested directly from the patient help to make stem cells a viable method of treatment.
Types of Stem Cell Therapies
There are various types of stem cell therapies that are being used and/or in development. Two of the more popular ones are those utilizing bone marrow derived stem cells and the other using amniotic derived stem cells. Both have been found to be effective. Additionally, many times platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatments are used in connection with stem cell treatments.
These therapies are used to treat a variety of injuries to and maladies of the musculoskeletal system. This system is comprised of various components, including, bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and various other kinds of connective tissues. Stem cells harvested from the two different sources noted above are those that are known as mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are highly adaptive, ably transforming into a range of tissues, including those used in the development of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
Amniotic Derived Stem Cells
Amniotic stem cells, which are harvested from amniotic fluid, originate from the mesenchyme. These multipotent cells can differentiate into various cell types, making them extremely versatile. They can become bone, fat, and cartilage cells, which means that they are highly adaptable and appropriate for repairing damaged tissue. Some of their uses include benefiting wound healing, alleviating joint problems, and expediting the healing of muscle tears.
Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells
Bone marrow stem cells are harvested from the patient’s bone marrow through a process known as aspiration. Like amniotic stem cells, these are also mesenchymal, making them very adaptable. The cells that come from bone marrow are very effective in recreating the structure of cells involved in orthopedic injuries, which means they are an excellent in aiding in the repair of ligament, tendon, and bone damage.
Stem cell injections often include platelet rich plasma (PRP). PRP is created from the patient’s blood, which is drawn and spun on a centrifuge until it separates into its various parts. This allows for the isolation and harvesting of platelets.
These platelets, which are rich with growth factors, are then combined with stem cells and the entire mixture is injected into the area to be treated. This type of injection promotes the multiplying of already present stem cells, builds tissue, and reduces inflammation.
Bright Future for Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy has been effective in treating many musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, as well as being efficient in encouraging the healing of wounds. Both amniotic and bone marrow stem cells have been utilized with positive results. PRP therapy is also useful in tandem with stem cell therapy as its growth factors promote healing. In the near future, stem cell therapy should include many new applications with extremely positive results.