One of the most fascinating areas of regenerative medicine I’m sure you’ve heard about is stem cell therapy.
Almost everyone in the medical community is talking about stem cell therapy and stem cell research.
The fascination with stem cells has to do with how stem cells introduced into the body can help to repair damaged cells.
Stem cells serve as blank canvases we can use to target and heal just about any part of the body we want.
A simplistic explanation of how stem cells work goes as follows.
If you needed to repair damaged heart cells, you could inject stem cells that have been programmed to heal damaged heart cells and your body would assimilate the stem cells into the damaged heart cells, then the health of your heart would improve.
Stem cell research used to be a controversial treatment. Primarily because of where the stem cells that researchers used came from.
In recent years, the push to normalize stem cell treatment has created new and exciting therapies that we firmly believe are the future of medicine.
And that includes using a new therapy called exosome therapy.
Exosome therapy is stem cell therapy 2.0.
There many reasons exosome therapy surpasses stem cell therapy, including efficacy, availability and most importantly, price.
In this article I’m going to provide you with an explanation of what exosome therapy is, why we’re so enthusiastic about it, as well as giving you a chance to talk to us about scheduling your own exosome treatment here in the office.
You’ll Never Believe How Exosome Therapy Has Helped Our Patients
We first started using exosome therapy in July of 2019.
In the short time since we began using it our patients have experienced incredible results.
I’ve got several case studies to illustrate just how effective exosome therapy is, and I’m going to share one of the more exciting stories (while changing a few details to protect the privacy of our patient).
One of the very first times we used exosome was with an athlete who had a partial tear of their ACL.
This athlete was in an extremely competitive sport and surrounded by teammates who relied on them.
At first, the assessment of the partial tear of the ACL led the player to believe they’d miss the rest of their season.
The physician who performed the initial exam on the player confirmed the player had a very loose Lachman’s test; a Lachman’s test is used to assess the strength and stability of the ACL.
When the player came to our office we administered a mixture of PRP (platelet rich plasma) with exosome injection to help heal the ACL. Within 2 weeks we retested the ACL with a secondary Lachman’s test and we observed a very solid response. 1 week after that test (and 3 weeks after the tear) the player had resumed running and begun rehab, and within another few weeks the player was back to participating in their sport.
That case study is one of several positive ones we’ve collected in the 3 months since we began using exosome therapy at the clinic, and bolsters our belief that exosomes can be used with great effect in the future.
Now, it’s time for me to explain what exosome therapy is, how it differs from stem cell treatment, and why it’s better, too.
Exosome Therapy Explained
To appreciate exosome therapy, I’m going to need to rewind a bit and explain stem cell therapy again.
In stem cell therapy, we take cells that are compromised in some way, whether from disease, injury, or some other form of dysfunction, and then inject the body with stem cells that have been manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells so that the damaged cells can be regenerated and repaired.
That’s a long sentence, but basically, stem cells target damaged cells and heal them.
Stem cell therapy is extremely exciting and absolutely holds a place in the future of medicine.
The problem is that stem cell therapy has some downsides.
- It’s very expensive. Upwards of $100,000 for treatments.
- Stem cells are only as good as their age (newer is better).
- They won’t cross blood-brain barrier making them ineffective for nervous system and brain therapies.
- Your body may reject them.
Exosome therapy goes beyond stem cell therapy.
Instead of relying on actual stem cells to help regenerate damaged cells or tissue, exosomes are grown from stem cells. At Robinhood Integrative Health we use exosomes grown from placental stem cells taken from the placenta of babies born by C-section.
Now as weird as it sounds, exosomes, sometimes called extracellular vesicles, are how cells talk to each other.
Yes, they’re grown from stem cells, but a better way of thinking about exosomes is they’re a “living language” that you can inject into damaged cells.
They are the “living information packets” that stem cells emit, and your body can use this information to regenerate and repair.
Once injected into your body, damaged cells will “upload” the exosome and take all of the content inside of the exosome and then initiate a process of repair and reprogramming.
Now, I’ve simplified this process significantly because I don’t want this email to overwhelm anyone with intensely technological details.
The point is, exosomes do what stem cells do, but don’t require the stem cell to be injected to go about healing the body.
An added benefit to exosome therapy is that there’s no chance your body will reject exosomes. Because exosomes aren’t an actual cell, your body will not interpret their presence as a foregin invader and will not neutralize them (which would render them inactive).
Instead, your body simply processes the exosome as instructional information and proceeds to use the information on its way to healing.
Another point of interest is you can target exosomes to concentrate on a certain area of the body, which allows for localized healing.
Plus, once an exosome’s information has been programmed, it will not affect another cell type.
That means if you need heart cells to be repaired, exosomes will not help out lung cells. Likewise, exosomes won’t tell cancer cells to start reproducing, which is a concern with stem cell treatment.
More Exciting Facts about Exosomes
While I’ve given you a cursory view of exosome function, I’ll continue to list off a few more benefits of exosomes.
As I mentioned above, the exosomes we use come from placental stem cells. Unlike stem cells, which need to be fresh as can be to exhibit maximum effect on our bodies, exosomes can be used at any time in the future, for an indefinite amount of time.
What we do is we take the media that the stem cells are grown in (a liquid media) and freeze it so it’s able to be used at any time. Exosomes are extremely concentrated, sterile, and can be manipulated to match the exact function needed by the patient.
All this flexibility means that exosomes are quite a bit less expensive than stem cells.
There are numerous applications available for exosome therapy.
That includes the following:
>> Helps reverse age-related cell growth cessation: As we age our bodies will sometimes stop making certain proteins we need for continued growth. Exosomes can turn that function back on and allow for continued growth of certain cells.
>> Influence cell phenotype: Essentially help to prevent cells from expressing characteristics they shouldn’t.
>> Contribute to cell fate decision: This helps keep some cells alive, and allows for others to die (when they need to).
>> Promote cell regeneration: Helps repair damaged cells (like in the case of the torn ACL above).
>> Immunomodulation: Improves the performance of your immune function.
>> Anti-Inflammatory: This prevents inflammatory agents from remaining turned on which helps with all kinds of diseases.
>> Promote angiogenesis: This is the creation of new blood vessels.
As far as I’m concerned exosome treatment is one of the most exciting new therapies that we are offering in the practice and represents the future of stem cell therapy, and regenerative medicine too.
If you’d be interested in trying out exosome therapy in the office then be sure to call us at 336-768-3335 or schedule an appointment through the online portal today.
Pricing – Not covered by insurance, newer so more expensive.