What is regenerative medicine? And what can it be used to treat? Read this simple, but helpful overview on the basics of regenerative therapy.
Certain animals have the ability to regrow body parts. Lizards can regrow their tails, spiders can regrow their legs, and sharks famously replace thousands of teeth over their lifetimes.
What if we could do that in humans? While we can’t replace parts of our bodies on our own, through the power of regenerative medicine, we’re halfway there.
If you want to know the basics of regenerative medicine and how it’s used in the medical field, read on.
What Is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a method of replacing tissues or organs that have been damaged by disease or trauma rather than just treating the symptoms. It relies on a combination of stem cell therapy, artificial organ replacement, and other methods that we will detail below.
Our body naturally tries to heal itself, and regenerative medicine seeks to help the body do that in an accelerated manner.
Types of Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine takes several forms, and any single one or a combination of multiple can be vital to someone’s health.
Every human body contains millions of stem cells, which specialize for functions such as the heart, lungs, and liver.
Stem cells are plentiful when you’re young, but as you age stem cells begin to diminish rapidly in certain tissues and organs. This results in a lowered ability for your body to repair itself.
However, regenerative therapy from places such as Active Integrated Medical Center harvests stem cells and then injects them where the tissue is diseased or damaged. This revitalizes your stem cell population and allows the body to heal itself more effectively.
Stem cells can be harvested from adults using blood, fat, bone marrow. More commonly, stem cells are harvested from the placenta or umbilical cord, since the newborn stem cells are undamaged and plentiful.
Organ Regeneration and Artificial Organs
Organ transplants are common in America, but it can take years of waiting to finally get the organ you need. There are currently over 100,000 people waiting for organs, quite a few of whom will die waiting for those organs.
Because of this, scientists and researchers are developing alternatives to organ transplants. Right now the most common alternative is artificial medical devices such as ventricular assist devices (VADs), which act as an alternative to a heart transplant.
Another alternative in development is xenotransplantation, which transplanting an animal’s organs into a human. Most research right now centers around genetically engineering pigs, which have organs similar in size and shape to humans.
Now that you have the most basic information on regenerative medicine, you might be itching to learn more. Whether you want more health advice or are simply curious about a variety of topics, you’re at the right place.
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