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Stem Cell Therapy

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Brad S. Bootstaylor, MD​

Stem Cell Therapy

All other cells in the body are created for a specific purpose. For example, a red blood cell has the job of transporting oxygen throughout the body. But the red blood cell is not able to divide and reproduce. Instead, when the body requires new red blood cells, it is the job of the stem cells located in your bone marrow to produce the new red blood cells. Those same stem cells can also produce white blood cells and platelets.Stem cell therapy is the process of delivering these unspecialized stem cells to a targeted location in your body to stimulate new cell growth and tissue healing.

What is a stem cell?

A stem cell is simply a type of cell that already exists in your body that has the unique ability to produce other cells, become a different kind of cell, or instruct other cells how to behave based on the task the body requires.

All other cells in the body are created for a specific purpose. For example, a red blood cell has the job of transporting oxygen throughout the body. But the red blood cell is not able to divide and reproduce. Instead, when the body requires new red blood cells, it is the job of the stem cells located in your bone marrow to produce the new red blood cells. Those same stem cells can also produce white blood cells and platelets.

Stem cell therapy is the process of delivering these unspecialized stem cells to a targeted location in your body to stimulate new cell growth and tissue healing.

How are Stem Cells used pain management?

Ultrasound-guided steroid injection

In the field of regenerative medicine, certain types of stem cells called Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are utilized for their ability to mature and differentiate into multiple types of tissue including bone, tendon, ligament, cartilage, muscle and meniscus. Stem Cells can be derived in different formulations such as:

  • Amniotic Fluid
  • Exosomes
  • Wharton’s Jelly
 

In addition, these stem cells can self-renew, producing more stem cells. They can even prevent other cells from dying due to lack of oxygen and they can produce anti-inflammatory proteins.

When stem cells are injected into an arthritic joint or injured tendon, they attach to the areas of damaged tissue. The stem cells can sense the micro-environment of the injury and determine what kind of cells to grow and what molecules are needed to enhance tissue healing. The stimulated stem cells begin to grow new cells and also act as your body’s own natural drug store producing and releasing the right combination of growth factors and proteins to stimulate healing and new growth of cartilage, tendon and other injured tissues.

 

Conditions Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
  • Osteoarthritis: Stem cell therapy is being investigated as a potential treatment for osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that can cause chronic pain and stiffness. The hope is that stem cells injected into the affected joint can help regenerate damaged cartilage and reduce inflammation.

  • Back and neck pain: Stem cell therapy is also being explored as a potential treatment for chronic back and neck pain. In this case, stem cells are injected into the affected area to help promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation.

  • Neuropathic pain: Some studies have suggested that stem cell therapy may be helpful in treating neuropathic pain, which is a type of chronic pain caused by damage to the nerves. The idea is that stem cells may be able to repair or replace damaged nerve cells, reducing pain and improving function.