Similar to prolotherapy, there isn’t extensive research on PRP and the research that has been done shows mixed results. Also like prolotherapy, PRP can have side effects that include, but are not limited to, skin discoloration, infection at the injection site, increased pain, bleeding, and an allergic reaction.
Regenokine is like the Lamborghini of regenerative medicine world because it is very expensive and you probably don’t know anyone who has done it before. But, many believe it will be readily available in the next five to 10 years for the general public as a reasonable option.
The therapy received a lot of media attention a few years back when a few professional athletes like Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez tried a variation of it and reported significant results the treatment. The administration of Regenokine is a fairly complex process:
- Stem cells, usually from the bone marrow of your hip, are extracted.
- The stem cells are processed in a lab for about a day.
- The doctor will re-inject your processed stem cells, along with natural growth factors from your blood platelets, into the area of the arthritic joint.
- Sometimes another injection of platelet-derived chemicals will also be administered a few days later.
The idea is that introducing stem cells into the vicinity of the arthritic joint will prompt the joint to “heal” and consequently provide pain relief.
Although this procedure involves using stem cells, it is offered in the United States. To make things more complicated, if you want a mega-dose of synthetically grown stem cells, you need to travel to the Cayman Islands to get it done.
What Does the Future Hold?
Regenerative medicine is truly a work in progress but the possibilities it offers for the future are very exciting. Can you imagine the day where you walk into the doctor’s office with osteoarthritis and being told you won’t have to live with condition for the rest of your life?
Newer regenerative therapies similar to Regenokine are emerging as promising alternatives and have the potential to heal damaged joints. A few of these newer therapies include chondrocyte implantation, mesenchymal stem cells, and cell-based scaffolds. Sounds like some fancy therapies right?
Unfortunately, some of the challenges that slow down the use of regenerative medicine in doctor’s offices is that it involves manipulating blood or stem cells. The United States FDA has created precautionary restrictions on the manipulation of cells and that is why many of these therapies are being developed and outside of America.
I’ll be the first to admit that regenerative medicine is a part of medicine that is fairly young, not entirely proven, and deserves some skepticism from osteoarthritis suffers. The research on them is limited and the preliminary evidence demonstrates that the jury is still out on these therapies.
However, the idea of a minimally invasive procedure that could partially reverse osteoarthritis and reduce OA pain is enough to get me excited! As a chronic pain sufferer, I have always refused to believe that hope is a bad thing and I am not going to start now with regenerative medicine.