PRP VS STEM CELL THERAPY | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Imagine you could naturally heal injured or damaged tissue or organs. This type of medicine would be a complete game-changer, leading to more natural ways of healing chronic diseases and injuries. With regenerative medicine, such as PRP and stem cell therapy, this could be the future of medicine.
There has been countless case studies and miracle stories of how stem cells have changed peoples lives. From low back pain (spinal stenosis, herniated discs), to knee ligament damage, to torn rotator cuffs. What can’t stem cell therapy do?
There has been some fascinating case studies and research being conducted in Ukraine, Panama, Mexico, and the United States. What does the future of medicine look like if we can regenerate any type of cellular tissue?
WHAT IS PRP (PLATELET RICH PLASMA)?
PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, is a type of non-invasive, non-surgical therapy that encourages the body’s own natural healing processes. It has been shown to help with a variety of issues, including:
- Hair loss
- Injuries to tendons
- Sprains or pulled muscles
- Repair after surgery to tendons or ligaments
- Chronic tendon injuries
- Overuse injuries
- Reduce inflammation
A small amount of blood is drawn from which the platelets are separated using a centrifuge machine. The healthcare practitioner injects the concentrated platelet-rich plasma into the injured area. PRP has a relatively low risk of side effects, since the components injected into you come from your own blood. Some PRP therapies also incorporate stem cell therapy.
WHAT IS STEM CELL THERAPY?
Stem cells are cells that have yet to differentiate, meaning they can become any kind of cell. Theoretically, this means that an injection of stem cells could provide new cells to convert into the tissue needed for the damaged area to heal or even grow new tissue. There are two main categories of stem cells: adult and embryonic.
Adult stem cells can come from anywhere but are typically taken from adipose tissue (fat) and bone marrow. When you take stem cells from adult tissue, it is only able to turn into that type of tissue, thereby limiting their use.
Embryonic stem cells have the potential to turn into any kind of cell, giving them a much wider application. New studies point to the promise of using umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid as a resource for these type of stem cells.
Stem cell therapy has made some great strides in medicine. Researchers are finding that the by-products of the birthing process (placenta and umbilical cord) has increased viable contents to extract mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate into cells that may help treat autoimmune diseases, autism, cancer, and many other health processes.
Adipose tissue derived stem cells have had some miraculous case studies in treating quadriplegics, atypical ALS, and many other neurological diseases.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
PRP works by injecting you with a concentration of your body’s normal healing and growth factors (roughly five to 10 times the normal amount), which theoretically speeds up the process. Platelets promote blood clotting, stimulate collagen production (PRP vampire facials), and facilitate wound healing and tissue regeneration (tendon and ligaments).
Stem cell therapy generally transplants stem cells from a different source to regenerate and repair damaged tissues or organs. There is a chance of the immune system rejecting the stem cell transplant, so there may be a need to take immune suppressive drugs.
The biggest difference between PRP and stem cell therapy is that PRP comes from your own body, reducing the risk of rejection and removing some of the ethical concerns. Additionally, PRP stimulates growth using growth factors and other signals, while stem cells inject new cells into the site to stimulate growth and regeneration.
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING STEM CELLS?
Much of the controversy surrounding stem cells comes from the fact that the most versatile, and thereby promising, type comes from embryos. Because it deals with human embryos, this area of research has ethical implications that are widely debated. This debate caused former president George W. Bush to stop funding of stem cell research in the US for quite some time.
Currently, stem cell treatment is only approved for treating certain blood disorders and burn victims. However, there are many stem cell clinics promising to provide healing for a wide range of injuries and diseases, including for anti-aging, without much evidence to back it up. This leads to safety concerns, as this is a new and emerging science still under research with limited regulation.
IS THIS THE FUTURE OF MEDICINE?
Both PRP and stem cell therapy have the potential to create a revolution in medicine, as do other areas of regenerative medicine. If future studies back up the hypotheses, then it could change the ways in which injuries and diseases are treated.
For now, more research is needed to validate the theories, especially that of embryonic stem cell transplant. PRP has more current human research demonstrating the potential to work, but it has yet to be approved by the FDA.
In the regenerative medicine world – the capabilities are endless and possible untapped potential. Further research is needed but in clinical trials – the results look promising.
Dr. Jason Phan NMD – LIVV Natural Health | Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in IV Vitamin Therapy, PRP (platelet rich plasma)/Stem Cell Regenerative Injections, Men’s and Women’s Health, and Optimal Living. .