Heal thyself with regenerative medicine
We’ve all heard the term “regenerative medicine” bandied about, but what exactly does it mean?
The National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, defines regenerative medicine as “a rapidly developing field with the potential to transform the treatment of human disease through the development of innovative new therapies that offer a faster, more complete recovery with significantly fewer side effects or risk of complications.”
Or, as Gordon Korby, D.O., medical consultant and clinical educator at The Knee Institute & Regenerative Medicine in West Bloomfield put out, “Even though it’s been around for a while, regenerative medicine is becoming one of the biggest things in medicine right now.”
Korby is excited by the use of platelets and stem cells at The Knee Institute, which is Michigan’s only accredited facility with the OsteoArthritis Centers of America and stays on the cutting-edge of scientifically sound and effective alternatives to surgery and opioid drugs.
The human body naturally regenerates cells; just suffering a cut spurs “a healing cascade,” said Korby, who has devoted his medical career to pain management. That process is greatly enhanced by adding stem cells and/or platelet rich plasma (PRP), which Korby calls “the granddaddy of all our healing substances.”
PRP therapy is favored by many athletes because it helps them heal and get back into the game more quickly. Blood is drawn from the patient and centrifuged to increase the concentration of platelets to 10 times more growth factors than normal plasma. The resulting PRP is then injected into the body to promote the body’s natural healing process.
Stem cell therapy is known as the “gold standard” of regenerative medicine due to the greater concentration of cells that proliferate the treatment site for more rapid renewal and repair. While stem cells can be harvested from one’s body via liposuction or bone marrow, it’s often not necessary to undergo such invasive and uncomfortable procedures. Instead, stem cells from umbilical cords – never embryos – that have undergone strict screening protocols are used.
“They are more disease free because they are brand spanking new,” said Korby. “They can dock on any cell in the body, such as cartilage cells, and start to regenerate new cells.”
The physicians at The Knee Institute often mix both stem cell and PRP therapies for the best results. They also offer physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and ligaments and, as Korby puts it, “get the nervous system back to normal.”
And The Knee Institute vows complete transparency; if tests show that you’re suffering from a painful “bone on bone” condition or severe tears, regenerative medicine can’t help and they will refer you to a surgeon.
“There are charlatans out there who say they can grow bone with stem cells or PRP, but they can’t. You may as well put water in there,” Korby said.
While cortisone shots and viscosupplementation can help ease painful joints, it’s only a Band-Aid approach, Korby said.
“They only work for six months to a year and then you have to do it again because it’s not healing or fixing the cause of your pain,” he said. “With regenerative medicine, we are treating the cause because we are generating new cells.”
For more information, call The Knee Institute at 248-430-5113 or visit thekneeinstitutes.com.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.