Your body is built to repair damage to itself. In some cases, however, due to the site or severity of your injury or a reduction in these abilities with age, your body can't keep up with the damage that is done.
Regenexx treatments use your body's natural healing agents to repair or mitigate damage by concentrating and focusing them at the exact site of your injury. This approach allows for natural, efficacious healing without the need for surgery.
Bone-marrow Stem Cells
Stem cells are cells that can turn into other types of cells and can also orchestrate a repair response. As such, they work as your body’s primary means of repairing damage. There are different types of stem cells, but for treating orthopedic injuries, the only one with demonstrated efficacy is mesenchymal stem cells (MSC).
Based on our extensive experience, the most effective MSCs are derived from bone marrow. These cells can turn into bone, cartilage, muscle, tendons, or ligaments. Regenexx draws bone marrow from your hip bones, processes it in our lab to derive 5-20 times more stem cells per unit volume injected than can be achieved by a bedside centrifuge machine most physicians use. These stem cells are then injected using precise image guidance into the precise area of your injury to rebuild, repair, or mitigate the effects of damaged tissue. Our extensive research using MSCs derived from bone marrow has shown excellent outcomes in treating all but the most severe orthopedic injuries.
Culture Expanded Stem Cells
Regenexx offers a licensed site in Grand Cayman that can grow stem cells to bigger numbers (called culture expansion) and where those same cells can be safely stored. This technology is used in select patients, including 1.) patients with more severe orthopedic conditions, 2.) patients who want to treat multiple joints, 3.) patients who want to store and save cells for future treatments. This procedure is not US FDA approved (but is the subject of an FDA approved phase 1-2 clinical trial) and is permitted in Grand Cayman as the practice of medicine. Additionally, their U.S. board certified Regenexx physicians are licensed to practice in the Cayman Islands and perform this advanced treatment.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cells
While adipose- or fat-derived stem cells have been shown to be much less effective than bone-marrow-derived stem cells at turning into bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, or ligament as a means of repairing orthopedic injuries, in some cases, these cells can also be used effectively as a part of a larger treatment plan for orthopedic injuries to create a fat graft that supports and holds in place other structures and allows them to heal appropriately. Regenexx's expert physicians are well versed in the best ways to use these cells to support your recovery.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is created by concentrating the platelets in your blood to enhance healing. These platelets have growth factors that can kick-start your normal healing process to encourage your body to heal itself. Regenexx’s proprietary lab processing allows us to remove nearly all of your white and red blood cells so that what is being injected contains only what your body needs to help repair damage. This difference between Regenexx’s super-concentrated PRP and most other PRP is visible. The usual standard fare PRP is reddish in color because it still contains a significant number of red blood cells while Regenexx’s PRP is amber in color. In addition, Regenexx PRP is more concentrated by a factor of 3X - 5X above what a basic bedside centrifuge machine can produce for physicians. Our in-vitro experiments demonstrate that this produces better tissue healing in tendon injuries and better stimulation of the local stem cells.
Platelet lysate is a highly specialized derivative of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Normal PRP isolates platelets from the blood which slowly release growth factors into the site of the injury over the course of roughly one week. In some cases, however, our research shows that a faster, more intense release of healing factors creates a better healing response. Platelet lysate accomplishes this by stripping all of the growth factors out of platelets and making these available for immediate use. Regenexx’s proprietary platelet-lysate processing technology is now on its third and fourth generation as we’ve learned better ways to encourage fast release of growth factors.
Cytokines have not been nearly as extensively researched as stem cells and platelets for their benefits in treating orthopedic injuries, but initial results are promising. Regenexx uses Alpha 2 Macroglobulin (A2M), a cytokine that reduces inflammation and removes from tissues certain chemicals that have been shown to be destructive to cartilage. While no long-term research exists in human trials on the benefits, A2M shows tremendous promise as a means of treating or preventing osteoarthritis. As always, Regenexx continues to lead the way in researching new ways to better use your body’s natural healing agents to treat orthopedic injuries.
Extra-cellular Matrix (ECM)
An ECM is a scaffold on which cells can grow. We use a few different ECM products. One is derived from amniotic membrane. While this doesn’t contain stem cells, it does contain proteins and growth factors that we believe can help platelets or stem cells in certain clinical scenarios like tendon repair.