While playing sports improves overall health and well-being of an individual, it is also associated with an increased risk of causing orthopedic injuries that are painful and take a long time to heal. Today, sports medicine doctors use stem cells to treat a wide variety of sports injuries, including damage to tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. Some of the most common orthopedic sport injuries include bone fractures, tear in the muscle or tendons, joint dislocations or injury to cartilage surrounding the joints. Over the last few years, the field of regenerative medicine has revolutionized the treatment of sports-related bone and joint injuries in the form of amniotic membrane allograft injections.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells, also known as progenitor cells, are undifferentiated cells with a capability to divide unlimited number of times. Stem cells can be broadly categorized into pluripotent and multipotent stem cells. Pluripotent progenitor cells are embryonic in origin and can transform into any cell type in the body like cardiac cells, muscle cells, or nerve cells. Multipotent progenitor cells are also known as adult stem cells, which can be found predominantly in the human bone marrow. These cells can only transform into any cell type inside a particular tissue, under appropriate conditions. Placenta-derived tissues such as umbilical cord, amniotic fluid and amniotic membrane also contain a rich supply of multipotent stem cells.
Amniotic membranes are multilayered structures located on the innermost region of the placenta. These membranes are advantageous for tissue regeneration as they secrete various growth factors that promote the growth and differentiation of cells residing inside the tissue, leading to an effective wound repair. Also, amniotic membranes induce formation of blood vessels, reduce tissue inflammation, and lower the occurrence of tissue fibrosis. Antimicrobial properties of amniotic membranes prevent infections.
Are amniotic membranes safe for human use?
Research shows mesenchymal stem cells and epithelial cells found inside the amniotic membranes do not induce an immune reaction inside the recipient’s body after transplantation. As a result, chances of graft rejection are very negligible. Additionally, amniotic cells do not carry the risk of causing malignancies and are well-tolerated. Amniotic membrane allografts were safe and effective in lowering pain and treating various sports-related injuries such as plantar fasciitis, foot/ankle tendonitis and knee injury, as shown by multiple clinical trials conducted on human volunteers. In one such study, amniotic allografts used in patients with achilles tendonitis completely restored normal architecture of the tendon, and optimally aligned tendon fibers by stimulating the synthesis of matrix proteins such as type 1 collagen, hyaluronic acid, fibronectin and laminin. Patients undergoing this treatment successfully gained complete mechanical strength and functionality of the tendon. While early clinical studies are promising, additional studies are being conducted to understand the implications of amniotic grafts in treating injuries related various sport activities.
With amniotic membrane allografts, one can avoid expensive and invasive surgical procedures for treating sport-related joint damage and associated pain with zero side effects. However, caution should be exercised when selecting patients for amniotic membrane allografts and the treatment should be performed only by trained medical professionals in regulated clinics. At Stem X, we have an experienced team of board-certified physicians who perform these procedures using FDA-regulated products in a well-controlled sterile environment using cutting-edge technologies. You can either attend seminars or schedule a one-on-one consultation with our team at www.stemxgroup.com to know more about this innovative procedure and make an informed decision.