To fully understand how regenerative medicine works, we must first understand what stem cells are and what they are capable of. Though stem cell therapy has only been used in the U.S. for the purposes of regenerative medicine for the past 5 years, stem cells have been used and studied with joint pain overseas for over 15 years. There is no shortage of research in this area, and the results are clear: Regenerative Medicine works.
There are many sources where stem cells can be found and harvested, and the source does matter. Stem Cells are the “building blocks” of the human body. This is because they have the ability to become any number of cells that the body needs at any given time. Bone cells, cartilage cells, nerve cells, organ cells, etc, are all derived from different types of stem cells. The stem cells responsible for cartilage growth can be found in bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), human umbilical cord blood, and human umbilical cord tissue (HUCT) or Wharton’s Jelly.
The stem cells we use come from Wharton’s Jelly, which is a gelatinous tissue that surrounds and protects the vessels in the umbilical cord, and it is a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells. The tissue is donated from healthy, consenting mothers during a healthy live birth. It contains an abundance of growth factors, proteins, and regenerative cells, including stem cells.
The cord blood is processed in such a way that all blood components associated with rejection are removed. When these growth factors, proteins, regenerative cells, and stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, they begin working to repair the source of pain. The first order of business is to stop the inflammatory process. Wharton’s Jelly contains advanced growth factors, and they secrete cytokines, inflammatory response regulating proteins, to manage the body’s response to the injured area. This is critical for the growth of new cells, since the chemicals produced in the inflammatory response are damaging to cells and cell growth. This initial anti-inflammatory response is the reason most people feel pain relief in the first couple of weeks.
This paves the way for the injected stem cells to turn on your native stem cells to begin regrowing tissue. The process of tissue growth takes months. The life cycle of the injected cells is about 90 days; however, your own cells will continue to grow tissue months to come.