10 Benefits of Using Amniotic Tissue

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Regenerative medicine has recently been pushed into the limelight after multiple high-profile athletes opted to utilize regenerative treatment options rather than undergoing surgery; however, researchers, scientists, and doctors alike are being drawn to use stem cells derived from amniotic tissue in regenerative therapies for a variety of medical applications due to their unique properties and the role they play in wound healing and recovery.

Regenerative medicine is a field of medicine which emphasizes the use of organ and tissue cells’ abilities to reproduce and differentiate in order to develop and enhance treatment options for common diseases, disorders, and injuries such as arthritic joint pain or degenerative disc disease. These therapies are commonly cultivating cells from three specific locations, one of which is the amniotic tissue donated from a consenting mother during a health C-section. Two other sources of applicable stem cells include bone marrow and adipose (fat); however, the use of cells derived from amniotic tissue possess unique benefits for the purpose of regenerative therapies. Below, you can find a better understand of the role stem cells play in the healing process, stem cell therapy, and 10 benefits of using amniotic tissue in regenerative therapies.

Stem Cells’ Role in the Healing Process

A stem cell is the most basic cell in the human body. We are born with an abundance of stem cells and growth factors that have the ability to proliferate and grow into a large number of cells in addition to being able to differentiate into a wide variety of cell types. This is why children experience rapid change throughout their early stages of life and can usually bounce back from injury with a full recovery. As we age, the concentration of stem cells in our body decreases, allowing us to become more susceptible to injury, chronic pain, degenerative diseases and long recovery times. The rate at which we heal is largely dependent on the number of stem cells available.

When we are injured, our body’s natural response it to begin to heal the area of injury. Fluid and blood cells immediately fill the area causing inflammation and swelling. This then acts as a barricade around the wound. Blood platelets begin to release growth factors and stem cell activators which as directed by the body where to go and what to do. Unspecialized stem cells being to transform into the appropriate cell type in order to heal the injury.

Stem cell therapy uses the cell’s natural healing functions to treat degenerative diseases and chronic pain due to injury, disease, and degeneration. By injecting a concentration of stem cells and growth factors into an area with joint pain or soft tissue damage, we are able to accelerate the healing process by reducing inflammation, restoring range of motion and relieving chronic pain without the use of surgery.

Stem Cells’ Role in Medical Applications

Stem cells are essentially being used in medicine in two ways; homologously and heterologously. Homologous applications have been practiced for a longer duration and involve using a patient’s stored stem cells or those from a matched donor to restore the same type of tissue from which it derived. For example, a bone marrow transplant.

Heterologous applications involve regeneration of tissue using cells that did not originate from the same source. This is stem cell application is quickly growing in practice and popularity among athletes and patients across the nation; for example, stem cell therapy treatments using a concentration of stem cells derived from amniotic tissue. Below, you will find 10 benefits of using amniotic tissue in regenerative therapies.

Here are 10 Benefits of Using Amniotic Tissue in Regenerative Therapies

1. Used since the early 1900s

Donated amniotic membrane has been used to treat burns, reconstructive surgery grafts, and various other wounds for nearly 100 years. Since this time, it is now also used to treat difficult-to-heal wounds and soft tissue damage.

The membrane is the innermost layer of the placenta consisting of tissue layers which are collected after healthy labor and delivery, if not routinely discarded. The tissue possesses unique healing properties and is rich in collagen and growth factors, two major components of wound healing.

2. High concentration of growth factors

The amniotic membrane contains a high concentration of growth factors and other building blocks such as cytokines and stem cells which are able to enhance and accelerate the healing process as well as help your own cells regenerate damaged tissue.

Collagen serves as the base of all tissue, creating structural integrity.  Growth factors stimulate tissue growth while hyaluronic acid acts as a natural lubricant within the joints.

3. Accelerated rate of healing

The number of stem cells available and determine the rate at which soft tissue or cartilage regenerates. The number of cells in our body decreases with age, slowing the natural rate of healing and leaving more time for secondary injuries, inflammation, or chronic pain.

4. Multipotent differentiation

The cells found within the amniotic tissue possess multipotent differentiation properties, meaning they have the ability to turn into a wide variety of cell types. Some studies and clinical trials show that adult stem cells harvested from fat or bone marrow have a lower proliferation and differentiation capacity than those derived from the amniotic membrane. Stem cells deriving from the amniotic membrane tend to sit between the multipotent properties of adult stem cells and the pluripotent properties of embryonic stem cells.

Scientists have more recently been studying the possibility of reprogramming stem cells derived from the amniotic fluid to possess pluripotent properties, meaning the ability to turn into any cell type in the human body. These cells are referred to as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC).

5. Immune-privileged 

Stem cells found in the amniotic tissue and fluid are immune-privileged, meaning they will not cause a reaction from the immune system. Some tissue groups are recognized as a foreign antigen and are rejected by the immune system causing inflammation which can either promote cell death or cell regeneration.

6. Anti-inflammatory

The cytokines within the amniotic concentration are natural anti-inflammatory agents that play a major role in cellular communication by directing cells where to go, what to do and how to act. This release of inflammation will also provide immediate pain relief.

7. Anti-adhesion

Small tissue tears can become inflamed and cause chronic pain if not treated. If scar tissue forms, it could alter and slow the healing process. The amniotic membrane contains anti-adhesion properties which can prevent scarring.

8. Anti-microbial

The amniotic membrane is home to a wide variety of molecules, some of which have anti-bacterial properties used to fight infection and protect the fetus from protection before birth. These molecules are known to multiply near the time of delivery and maintain their presence one the membrane has been removed and dehydrated.

9. Readily available

The amniotic membrane is easily extracted during a healthy delivery and donated under the specific consent of the mother. Using amniotic tissue is generally safer for the patient for multiple reasons. First, there is no need to harvest tissue from the patient themselves, which can require a surgical procedure depending on the location. Secondly, amniotic tissue is immune privileged and will not put the patient in risk of infection after being injected into a tissue from which it did not derive.

10. Easy to administer

A concentration of amniotic tissue stem cells is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that is done in-office. Patients can return to low-intensity tasks almost immediately and receive a full recovery within weeks.

 

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10 Benefits of Using Amniotic Tissue

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