You’re probably familiar with the term “stem cells,” but may not know precisely what they are or how they can be used in medicine. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, which means that they have the potential to develop into different kinds of cells and tissue in the body; scientists call them pluripotent for this reason. Up until the mid-1990s, the general understanding was that adults only had one kind of stem cells, found in their bone marrow.
But a number of discoveries in the 90s changed our understanding of stem cells and brought about a complete revolution in medicine that we are still going through today. Dr. William Bennett, an orthopedic surgeon based in Sarasota, was one of the first doctors to bring the use of stem cells to orthopedic medicine. His technique proved extremely successful, and is being widely used today to treat arthritis, sports injuries, and other conditions.
Dr. Bennett recently co-authored a paper with Dr. Arnold Caplan and others that was published in the journal Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The article discussed the use of stem cells and other regenerative treatments to enhance the outcomes of orthopedic surgery – and in some cases, help patients avoid surgery altogether. Dr. Caplan found that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which were traditionally found in bone marrow, could also be obtained from other tissues in the body. His work has been instrumental to expanding our understanding of the potential for various applications of MSCs to medicine.
“The current scientific evidence has now provided evidence that every tissue in the body has tissue-specific progenitors,” writes Dr. Caplan. “Thus, muscle has satellite cells (myogenic progenitors) and a separate yet distinctive class of MSCs. The MSCs from bone marrow, muscle and tendon have the same general properties, but their basic chemistries are quite different as controlled by both their tissue of origin and the genome of the donor.”
Dr. Bennett was among the first to realize that this meant that the distinctive class of MSCs from bone marrow, muscle and tendons could not only be used to enhance patient recovery time from orthopedic surgery – but even avoid surgery altogether. He began treating patients with a combination of MSCs and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as an alternative to surgery, and produced amazing results. Patients who had presented with serious injuries or chronic conditions rapidly improved using this method. This technique was so safe and successful that the FDA eventually approved it for general use.
If you or someone you know is suffering from pain or reduced mobility due to an injury, loss of cartilage or tissue, or a chronic condition such as arthritis, contact Dr. Bennett’s office today to learn how his use of MSCs and PRP can help. Most cases can be treated successfully with stem cell therapy alone, which means you can avoid the pain, extended recovery, and risks associated with surgery. And because stem cell therapy is safe and FDA-approved, it can be repeated as necessary without any additional risks to the patient.