Amniotic Fluid Based Stem Cell Injections As Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative Medicine is now possible for soft tissue injuries and defects with amniotic fluid based treatments.
In the past associate of years, stem cell therapy has been brought to the spotlight of medicine. Most therapy is done by a technique called Platelet high Plasma, better known as PRP. This technique is drawing the patients own blood and running it by a centrifuge to collect the obtainable cells in the blood draw. After collection and processing, the concentrated blood is re-injected into the designated site for therapy. PRP therapy usually consists of a series of injections, approximately 3, over a designated time frame.
While this therapy has some success, there are some drawbacks with this technique. The number of stem cells possible with the technique is much less than what is obtainable with other injection substances. Also adult cells do not always continue the possible to differentiate into all types of human tissue, such as cartilage, muscle, tendon, and bone.
Each person is born with a level of stem cells in their body. At birth, the stem cell level is at its peak with about 1 in 10,000 cells. This level progressively declines with age. As a teenager the number drops to 1 in 100,000 cells. At age thirty it continues downwards to 1 in 250,000 cells. At age fifty the amount is 1 in 400,000 and finally by age eighty it is a paltry 1 in 2,000,000 according to Caplan, A. Clinics in Plastic Surgery 1994.
Amniotic fluid based treatments are the next evolution in regenerative medicine. Not only does amniotic fluid contain an immense amount of stem cells, it also contains a whole biological system that adds to the benefits. Amniotic fluid has been shown to be a high source of proteins, growth factors and multipotent stem cells basic for fetal growth and development. Medical research demonstrates that the presence of these cells provides ancillary clinical benefits by enhancing the bodys natural regenerative course of action while filling soft tissue defects.
No fetal tissue exists in amniotic fluid, avoiding the ethical concerns of embryonic cells while maintaining the existence of multipotent cells. These cells nevertheless are undifferentiated and have the capacity to change into cartilage, bone, or muscle cells. Embryonic cells may overdo it and form too many cells creating tumors, while the stem cells in amniotic fluid do not have this quality.
Current medical literature demonstrates that cytokines, growth factors, hyaluranic acids and stem cells present in amniotic tissue and fluid stimulate the repair of tissues or modulate the local microenvironment by enhancing the bodys natural regenerative course of action and potentialy allow damaged tissue to undergo regeneration.
Right now treatments offered be make up of consistently tissue repair or removal, such as with surgery or letting the body try and heal itself. for example, with a cartilage defect in the knee the natural course of action is for it to fill in with fibrocartilage. This is not real cartilage and does not continue the same protective qualities as such. employing an amniotic fluid based stem cell injection could potentially allow real cartilage to fill the defect and prevent later post-traumatic joint degeneration. Another example would be a meniscal tear, where the most well known treatment is arthroscopic surgery and removing the tear. The meniscus is the shock absorber for the knee, and taking out too much can rule to premature arthritis. It would be better to promote regeneration, not removal.
There are many potentical clinical treatment options with stem cells, and the multiple benefits seen with amniotic fluids elements may provide a meaningful treatment option for regenerative medicine.