What is regenerative medicine?

Louis A. Cona M.D.

A detailed description of regenerative medicine, what it encompasses and how the term came to be associated with stem cell therapy.

Regenerative Medicine is the branch of molecular biology which deals with the process of replacing or regenerating human cells and tissues to restore normal function. Simply put, it is a field of medicine involved in helping the body to repair itself. In contrast, traditional medicine seeks to heal or treat conditions with drugs and surgery. Regenerative medicine is still in its early years, however, advances made to date have provided many effective options for those seeking treatment.

Regenerative Medicine

The term “Regenerative Medicine” was first used in a 1992 article on hospital administration by Leland Kaiser, however, it has evolved throughout the years to encompass a variety of practices. In general, it involves the use of stem cells, or “blank” cells, to promote healing in the body, repair damaged tissue, and even grow new organs. Due to the versatility of stem cells, researchers around the world are conducting studies and trials every day on their use to treat a number of degenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions, musculoskeletal injuries, and major body system failures. Regenerative medicine can provide healthy patients with the tools to maintain an active lifestyle, as well as provide a new liver to someone with severe cirrhosis. In order to understand how this is possible, you must first understand stem cells.

Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are primal or “undifferentiated” cells. They are essentially “blank” and have the ability to become almost any other type of cell. This allows them to be directed to grow into new tissue or simply transplanted into the body for treatment. In the body, their function is to find damaged or diseased tissue and repair or replace it. We all have a supply of stem cells when we’re born, but it decreases with time, and their effectiveness diminishes with age. A stem cell transplant seeks to boost the body’s number of stem cells by the hundreds of millions. Through the use of donated cord tissue-derived stem cells, the cells used in treatment are “brand new”, with the highest potency and healing potential. It is in this state that physicians can decide how best to treat a patient.

When used to treat autoimmune or degenerative conditions, such as MS, stem cells have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, they have been shown to protect, heal, and even regenerate neurons in the body, preventing cell death. The result is a decrease in symptom effect, as the stem cells regulate neural functions down to normal levels. Patients have reported a decrease in muscle/joint pain, sensitivity, and other inflammation-related symptoms. Trials have shown patients regaining mobility and flexibility, as well as a decrease in nerve pain. The results can last for years at a time without the need for another transplant of cells. This treatment seeks primarily to increase the quality of life for patients by reducing the associated symptoms down to manageable levels and is largely seen as the best natural alternative to drug-based treatment plans.

What is in store for the future?

Although there are many treatments available right now, the field of regenerative medicine has still yet to reach the mainstream. Data is still being collected every day, and therefore not everyone is willing to make the shift away from traditional medicine. Due to this fact, the regulatory environment is not friendly to the field, with many laws not allowing various forms of treatment, and insurance companies offering little to no coverage. However, this too is improving little by little, with many countries adopting the medical field and better regulations put in place to ensure regenerative medicine practices are safe for patients.

3 DAYS POST TREATMENT

Tyler explains his experience at DVC Stem in the Cayman Islands.

Tyler is optimistic that he will see positive results post treatment.

"The cool thing about the Cayman Islands besides being beautiful, it was an opportunity to get some rest and relaxation allowing my body to heal and restore. I'm back in the US now and feel like I am ready to conquer the world."

- Tyler Heid

2 WEEKS POST TREATMENT

2 weeks post treatment, MS patient Tyler is beginning to see amazing progress. He has been wheelchair bound for the last year and has not been able to move his legs unassisted before now.

2 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

Tyler updates about his progress, explaining the amazing response he has been receiving from his friends and family.

"People coming up to me saying I am moving, talking and smiling so much better. They are noticing a lot of things that have improved over the course of 3 months."

"This morning I was able to do things that I was unable to do before, I was able to stand up and lift my leg higher than I ever have before."

5 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

5 months post treatment Tyler sends us an update on his progress.

"I'm able to smile better, I have more control over the left side of my face."

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler is optimistic and on the right track to recovery. We are ecstatic to see his progress and look forward to more updates from him.

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler Heid - 5 months post treatment

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

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