by: Dr. Michael A. Castillo
It’s an age-old question in medicine, is this safe? Is it effective? With the rise of regenerative medicine or stem cell therapies, people wonder if therapies such as Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cells are safe and effective for conditions such as arthritis.
Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell therapies can be an effective treatment for arthritis and other conditions. Regenerative medicine is considered to be safe because most regenerative therapies use cells collected from the patient (platelet rich plasma, or stem cells from bone marrow or fat tissue), which minimizes adverse reactions. Some of the most common reactions following procedures are temporary pain and swelling.
The effectiveness of regenerative medicine is debated; research into Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell therapies is ongoing. Some procedures may be more effective than others. Just as some doctors produce better results than others depending on the type of regenerative therapies used as well as procedure techniques performed to deliver the cells.
Current research theorizes stem cells when applied to arthritic joints will: regenerate new cartilage cells, treat the inflammation aggravating arthritis symptoms, and the cytokines released into the joint will slow the joint degeneration. Any treatment could produce any or all of these outcomes. The proteins and growth factors in both platelet rich plasma and stem cells are concentrated and send signals to the body to send healing properties to the area targeted to accelerate the healing process.
Dr. Castillo uses a combination of PRP and stem cell therapies when treating pain from conditions such as arthritis, believing platelet rich plasma can help maximize the healing effects of stem cells. Using the two therapies together only increases the amount of proteins and growth factors sent to the targeted area.
Platelet rich plasma (or PRP) is derived from patient’s own blood, and spun down and separated to just the platelets. Similar to when you skin your knee the body sends platelets to help heal the area, usually creating a scab. The scab protects the area while the platelets release proteins and growth factors to heal the scrape. Platelets secrete growth factors and other proteins that control cell division, stimulation tissue regeneration, and promote healing in the area targeted.