The Regenerative Properties of Cell Therapy

For more than 15 years, Dr. Alimorad Farshchian has led the delivery of nonsurgical orthopedic care as medical director of The Center for Regenerative Medicine. In overseeing the Miami, Florida, orthopedic medical center, Dr. Alimorad Farshchian and his team have carried out more than 20,000 procedures, harnessing cell therapy to alleviate pain for patients suffering from arthritis, tendonitis, torn ligaments, and a variety of muscular and skeletal conditions.

Autologous cell therapy refers to a procedure in which patients’ own cells, tissues, or growth factors are injected back into their bodies for regenerative purposes. The process involves separating cells from blood, and due to the great quantity of blood involved, and large financial cost required, this form of treatment was previously only available in hospitals. However, technological advancements have made it possible for medical professionals to facilitate cell therapy using only 30-50cc of blood. Physicians can now complete this process in an office setting and can harvest the necessary cells in approximately 20 minutes.

Cell therapy requires blood containing large quantities of platelets and growth factors. When injected into the site of an injury or arthritic pain, the cells attract Mesenchymal stem cells and release critical proteins such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF1), insulin-like growth factor (ILGF), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), which aid healing by spurring the development of new tissue. In this way, cell therapy can accelerate the body’s normal healing process to relieve arthritic pain of the knee, shoulder, elbow, spine, hip, ankle, and wrist.

Trends in Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine

The founder of the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Florida, Dr. Farshchian stands out as an innovator in his field. Dr. Farshchian, who coined the term “orthopedic regenerative medicine,” has authored two books and created two DVDs on the subject.

According to data released in 2014, the field of regenerative medicine is poised for a major period of growth. Experts estimate a 2014 market of close to $36.4 billion and predict growth to more than $42 billion over the next five years. Global revenue will likely reach 3 percent by 2018, joint replacement and implant as well as regenerative products being the most profitable area. These products will likely grow at a 2.7 percent rate to $34.4 billion in revenue by 2019.

However, global cartilage and soft tissue regenerative products present an even higher percentage of growth. This field is likely to grow at 6.6 percent and generate $2.5 billion in 2019. Researchers attribute much of this growth to technological advancements and the increasing need for these products among an aging population.

An Overview of Regenerating Orthopedic Tissue

Dr. Farshchian has served as the medical director at Miami, Florida’s Center for Regenerative Medicine for nearly 15 years. In this position Dr. Farshchian excels in all areas of orthopedic regenerative medicine.

Orthopedic injuries can result in long-term, if not permanent, damage to cartilage, intra-articular ligaments, and the meniscus. Sometimes even bone matter can fail to properly mend after serious orthopedic trauma. Medical professionals seeking to encourage regeneration of orthopedic tissue will focus on four important areas. At the cellular level, differentiated cells from the injured tissue can be used to help with tissue growth, though mesenchymal stem cells are also a major resource. There is some debate about the importance of the source of origin of cells used for regeneration; both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells show potential.

Critical to the regeneration of orthopedic tissue are morphogenetic signals. Generally, these signals originate from individual recombinant growth factors, if not native, platelet-rich plasma mixtures. A number of additional mixtures can be used to further stimulate morphogenetic signals. Smart scaffolds are also instrumental in sustaining effective, ongoing growth factors. Finally, mechanical practices to support regeneration deal with in vivo intrinsic biological processes.

Acupuncture – Traditions and Modern Research

As medical director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Miami, Dr. Farshchian employs orthopedic regenerative medicine and nonsurgical techniques to treat people suffering from injuries and arthritis. The techniques Dr. Farshchian covers on his television program, The Arthritis Show, include acupuncture, which involves the insertion and manipulation of specialized needles into the body.

With origins in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture has its basis on a theory that qi, a flow of energy, controls the various functions of the body. This energy flow can become unbalanced, and the insertion of needles stimulates certain areas of the body and opens them up to an uninterrupted flow of energy. However, modern research has not found any biological or physical basis for the concept of qi. As a result, the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating pain (with the exception of neck issues) has been brought into question. Some studies have indicated that the benefits of acupuncture may be accounted for by the placebo effect, although the treatment is considered safe when undertaken by experienced practitioners.

Sisacroiliac Injections for Back Pain

At the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Miami, Medical Director Dr.Farshchian oversees a team of professionals who treat patients suffering from the pain of arthritis and injuries. The center specializes in nonsurgical sports medicine and orthopedics. To help patients attain a functional level of health, Dr. Farshchian utilizes various modalities of treatment and pain management for patients experiencing knee, shoulder, and back pain. Sisacroiliac injections are a standard form of therapy for back pain.

The sacroiliac joint connects the spine with the pelvis. Technically, it is the location where the iliac bones and the sacrum join. Physical problems in this area result from trauma or from injury sustained over a long period. In addition to injuries related to hard impact, other common sources of problems are arthritis, the wearing away of cartilage, and muscle tightness.

After diagnosis, physicians use various treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain, including applications of ice or heat, massage or physical therapy, and medication. For chronic problems, doctors often treat sacroiliac joint pain with injections. At the office of Dr. Farshchian, he and his staff use injections to relieve back pain from arthritis. With the patient lying face down, he first locates the problem area using touch and ultrasound technology. Next, he administers a local anesthetic to the skin and tissue surrounding the sacroiliac joint. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, he injects medication into the sacroiliac joint using a syringe. Unlike the more common treatments that contain steroid medication, he uses a solution of natural medications. In the final step, he covers the surface wound with a bandage.

Autologous Cell Therapy for Arthritis

An expert in non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine, Dr. Farshchian serves as the medical director of the Miami-based Center for Regenerative Medicine, an organization he founded in 2000. His center treats patients with joint pain and cartilage damage in the body, particularly in the knees, shoulder, and spine. The goal of treatment is to assist patients in regaining a functional level of health. Cell therapy is one of several types of treatment utilized by Dr. Farshchian for addressing medical issues related to arthritis and pain.

In autologous cell therapy, physicians use the patient’s own cells to repair damaged joints. The patient’s undifferentiated cells can form into new cartilage or ligaments, or other tissue that will replace damaged arthritic joints. Autologous cell therapy has a clear advantage over the use of the more controversial embryonic stem cell procedures because there is no risk of cell rejection. Moreover, autologous cell therapy avoids the problem of potential tumor development that is associated with embryonic stem cell replacement.

Previously performed only in a hospital setting, technological advances allow physicians to perform autologous cell therapy in outpatient venues. Doctors are able to harvest patient cells from only 30 to 50 cubic centimeters of blood, which are ready for injection within 20 minutes. The blood platelets contain growth factors that stimulate mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which differentiate into the precursors of new tissue types, such as bone, ligaments, and cartilage. Therefore, autologous cell therapy can reduce pain in most patients without side effects or surgery.