In all sports, injured athletes look for ways to heal faster, promote a lasting recovery and allowthem to perform at their highest level of functioning. All professional athletes are subjected to extreme forces that place an undue stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Numerous professional basketball players in the NBA have turned to stem cell treatments as a sports medicine option to enhance their recovery. Knicks players Kenyon Martin, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Amare Stoudemire, and Allan Houston all underwent a microfracture surgery in which bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells are used to repair damaged tissue. Dr. Lox points out that microfracture has been used for a variety of techniques in the past and even more extensive cord decompression with drilling into the bone allows the bone marrow stem cells which are rich in mesenchymal stem cells to help heal injured tissue. In the past, it was not clearly linked as a stem cell technology. Even bone marrow transplants, which have been a common place in medicine for decades is still commonly thought of merely as a bone marrow transplant and not as a method of stem cell treatment. Dr. Lox points out that not only athletes but patient with injured joints and knees often will look to any procedure that will enhance their recovery. This is not to say that this is some passing fad. This technology has been around for decades. Its utilization by supplementing extracted stem cells to treat the tissue is becoming more innovated by the addition of stem cells not only to a surgical technique but merely adding the stem cells into an injured joint or tissue. Dr. Lox points out this has been done extensively in veterinary medicine and has been used extensively in thoroughbred raising. Dr. Lox views this as a natural evolution and refinement of technique that really has been utilized for decades. The public awareness appears to be more astute with the press that is given to high profile athletes yet it really is not anything that is revolutionarily new. Trials are underway for a variety of applications including the utilization of allogeneic stem cells (other people’s stem cells) which would be considered a drug therapy.
Currently, the use of one’s own stem cells (autologous therapy) voids the ethical debate of using embryonic stem cells and the problems that may be associated with using someone else’s tissue. Most patients are more readily willing to have a procedure that involves their own cells to aid in their own recovery. There is currently not much financial interest in research in this regards as to clinical trials.
If you’re in pain or had an injury and are looking for an alternative to surgery, contact us immediately at one of our locations. Our Main Medical Center located in Tampa Bay, Florida (727) 462-5582 or at Beverly Hills, California (310) 975-7033.