Advancements in Regenerative Medicine at Advanced Research
At Advanced Research, we take pride in playing a pivotal role in the advancement of regenerative medicine for a variety of orthopedic diseases. Currently, Advanced Research is investigating the use of adipose-derived stem cell injections to treat partial-thickness tears of the rotator cuff, osteoarthritis of the facet joints of the lumbar spine, and osteoarthritis of the knee. There are many established treatments in orthopedics that are used for these conditions such as:
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Is commonly used in sports medicine for a variety of orthopedic conditions and is derived from a person’s blood, after the blood is processed, it is injected back into the individual’s problem area to accelerate healing. Stem cell injections on the other hand are derived from either a fatty area such as the abdomen or the bone marrow. At Advanced Research, our studies use liposuction of either the abdomen, flanks, or inner thigh to obtain this fatty tissue rather than obtaining tissue from the bone, which can be an extremely painful procedure. Once your physician obtains tissue from one or more of these areas, the tissue is used to create a highly concentrated injection of stem cells that will be injected into the problem area and not only trigger healing, but trigger tissue regeneration. Although stem cell injections are more complicated to obtain than PRP injections, our physicians are highly experienced in performing liposuctions and have streamlined the process making it as simple and painless as possible for our patients.
The goal of these injections is to reduce inflammation and vary in durability per patient. Results from these injections are usually instant and provide temporary relief. Some patients have impressive results with corticosteroid injections and only return to their physician once a year for relief, but others return regularly. Even though stem cell injections do not function as fast as corticosteroid injections, as they can take about 2 months for patients to see a profound change in pain, they are longer lasting. A patient may no longer need any form of treatment after a singular injection, this is attributable to the regenerative properties of stem cell.
Surgery and physical therapy
They can be costly as most patients cannot afford these procedures even with insurance. Surgery can also lead to recovery time where patients are unable to return to work or must undergo extensive physical therapy post-surgery for their problem area to return to full use. The liposuction procedure used to obtain the fatty tissue needed to create stem cell injections has extraordinarily little downtime in comparison. We advise our patients to rest for 2-3 days post-liposuction to allow their incisions to heal and that bruising will occur for about two weeks in the liposuction area. Besides these short limitations, our patients begin to see improvements in their problem areas in as short as two months!
With over 50 patients enrolled in our orthopedic studies, we have been able to see the progression of their conditions and exactly how these stem cells have helped them on their journey. Our largest orthopedic study involves partial-thickness tears of the rotator cuff at the supraspinatus tendon. Patients are in the study for a total of 6 months and are treated only once at the start of the study. Every patient undergoes a liposuction procedure, with 2/3 of them receiving a stem cell injection and 1/3 receiving a corticosteroid injection. The study has been ongoing for over 2 years and has generated amazing results. Patients who were treated in 2019 and 2020 have recently returned to the office for their two-year post-injection follow-up visits and most of them have a full range of motion and full strength of their shoulders. These patients have not received any form of treatment, which includes surgery or corticosteroid injections, since the completion of their study. Patients who before the study were taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol regularly to alleviate their pain have not returned to using any over-the-counter medication. Advanced Research also conducts a study involving osteoarthritis of the facet joints of the lumbar spine, with similar adipose-derived stem cell injections as the rotator cuff study. This study is longer, a little over a year, but we have seen comparable results. Patients who have received the stem cell injection continue to exhibit great progress even on their last visit with us, which is 52 weeks post-injection. Patients boast that they can return to their favorite activities such as golfing, exercising, and swimming without experiencing pain every time they twist their back. Advanced Research has recently started a new orthopedic study involving adipose-derived stem cells used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, and we expect equivalent results for our patients!
Advanced Research has years of experience in regenerative medicine, mostly using adipose-derived stem cell injections and will continue to contribute to the advancement of this treatment through clinical trials for years to come.
By Adriana Garcia Suji
Clinical Research Coordinator