Are Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cells the Fountain of Youth everyone is looking for?
Regenerative Medicine is the process of engineering cells, tissues and organs to replace nonfunctional parts. We, as physicians and scientists, have excelled at treating the symptoms of certain degenerative diseases and found ways to mask the aging process, but the recent focus has shifted to reversing the damage rather than treating the manifestation of the disease using Platelet Rich Plasma and stem cell.
For example, before the age of PRP and Stem Cells the only treatments available for arthritis were anti-inflammatory and pain medicines, steroids, mini surgery through arthroscopy, and at the extreme, full-blown knee replacement. With the discovery of PRP, the treatment in theory can be directed at healing the underlying damage in the joints. The procedure of PRP is simple and effective. Using the patient’s own blood, the platelet-rich plasma is harvested using a centrifuge. The PRP is then injected into the problematic joint.
Similarly, PRP is being used in increasing frequency in the field of cosmetics. PRP is harvested using a similar process. The delivery of PRP is done either directly or by using a microneedling process which results in the creation of microchannels in the skin. The PRP is then applied topically and penetrates to the deep skin layers through the microchannels. As the cells multiply, new layers of skin are formed. The outcomes can be greatly beneficial resulting in improved texture, skin tightening, reduction in wrinkles, and improved overall appearance.
To answer the question: we can say anecdotally, through patient reported outcomes and small limited available research that PRP is safe and effective. Research on a larger scale is needed for PRP to become a gold standard in medicine. We will know in few years if PRP and stem cell treatments are a turning point in medicine.
By: Dr Amjad Alkadri
Contributor: Rami Alkadri