ALLURE MEDICAL - all•u Magazine all·u Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 30
THE NEW APPROACH TOWARDS
HEALTHCARE AND MEDICINE
We’re now pioneering a new type of medicine
(which aims to “cure or replace” rather than
“manage or decrease” the symptoms of
disease) called regenerative medicine.
The National Institutes of Health refers
to regenerative medicine as the process
of repairing or replacing “tissue or organ
function lost due to age, disease damage
or congenital [birth] defects.” (2)
In contrast to the old approach, this new
approach promises to focus on the root
causes of disease and begin healing by
regenerating diseased tissue and organs.
THE THREE BREAKTHROUGHS
LEADING TO THIS NEW FRONTIER
Today, we’re learning more about how
the body maintains itself and its youth,
and how we can reactivate those natural
healing tendencies that decline as we age.
Three breakthroughs in the past decade
have catapulted our understanding
of youth, disease, and aging:
1. YOUTHFUL HORMONES
As we age, our youthful hormones tend to
decline. I’ve written a book for men and
one for women to explain the science of
youthful hormones and how they impact
our longevity and quality of life.
2. OUR MICROBIOME
We have one set of DNA, yet our
bodies contain over a hundred trillion
microorganisms—each with their own
DNA. There’s now overwhelming
evidence that the bacteria living in our
bodies are more responsible for health
and disease than we once thought.
3. CELLULAR MEDICINE
We have cells that lie dormant in our bodies
until they’re called upon to do things.
These cells were designed to help us heal
rapidly. Stem cells, in particular, are present
in every organ and tissue of our bodies.
But with a few exceptions, we really didn’t
know how to activate them to repair or replace
tissues when they’re not doing their job.
Briefly, a stem cell is a cell that can convert
into any cell type. For example, your DNA
can program stem cells to transform into
different cell types such as hair follicles, skin,
memory cells, and toxin-filtering cells.
Each of these mature cell types eventually
goes through a process called apoptosis,
which is the natural death of cells that
occurs as a normal function of our bodies.
When apoptosis occurs, a stem cell
that’s adjacent to the dying cell then acts
to replace that specialized cell. This is
the natural process of regeneration and
happens in every part of your body.
Regenerative medicine is aimed at using stem
cells therapeutically to help repair or replace
damaged tissues and organs. This approach is
in stark contrast to allopathic medicine, which
has been aimed at decreasing the symptoms
associated with organ and tissue damage.
WHAT STEM CELL THERAPY
LOOKS LIKE IN PRACTICE
Stem cell therapy currently refers to obtaining
stem cells from one part of the body and
deploying them into damaged tissues or organs.
To give an example, let’s discuss the most
common form of stem cell treatment to date.
Arthritis of the knee is a condition where
the cartilage that protects and lubricates
the knee has worn away. When the
stem cells in the cartilage fail to act,
this leads to cartilage breakdown and
eventually “bone-on-bone” arthritis.
Conventional medical treatment would
involve injecting anti-inflammatory
medications or lubrication into the joints
to relieve pain, or merely taking pain pills.
But if these methods fail to provide relief,
the joint would eventually need to be
replaced with an artificial metal joint.
Stem cells are the primary focus of
this new approach to healthcare. With stem cell therapy, we can now
take cells from our bone marrow and fat
and inject them into the knee directly—
thus stimulating cartilage regrowth.
THE STEM CELL AS A
THERAPEUTIC AGENT This type of therapy is already
happening around the world.
We’ve known about stem cells for decades. And while stem cell therapy is rapidly