Back pain is one of the most commonly reported issues among patients visiting their doctors. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the “the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.” Where do you stand? Is back pain hindering your ability to be productive? Is it causing you to miss out on your desired quality of life?
Back pain sufferers the world over should be encouraged to know that researchers are getting closer to a stem cell therapy that could solve their problems. The therapy is currently in the midst of a phase 3 controlled trial here in the U.S. If study results are positive once the trial ends in 2021, FDA approval could follow shortly thereafter.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Tissue Regeneration
There are a variety of different cells across the entire stem cell spectrum. This particular research study is focusing on mesenchymal stem cells, a type of stem cell that can regenerate into any type of tissue within the same germ layer.
According to the Pain News Network, researchers from an Australian biotech company have partnered with a German pharmaceutical company to come up with an investigational stem cell product consisting of mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow. The stem cells are donated by healthy volunteers.
The harvested stem cells are treated in a lab before being injected into the patient, where they coax the patient’s body to regenerate damaged discs. In addition to tissue regeneration, the stem cells also reduce inflammation.
Previous trials reveal that some 47% of the patients receiving the treatment experienced a significant reduction in pain at the follow-up period of 12 months. Even more exciting is the fact that pain reduction persisted for three years. That is remarkable.
More Research is Needed
Back pain sufferers will be waiting with anticipation to see how the phase 3 trial turns out. In the meantime, we absolutely need more research in the stem cell arena. Stem cell therapy is the future of modern medicine, so there’s no point in not putting all of our resources into developing it.
Even as the Australian-German partnership is looking at treating chronic back pain with stem cells, doctors here in the U.S. are using a similar treatment to help alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis. They can legally and safely do so as long as they follow FDA regulations governing minimally manipulated, autologous material.
Unfortunately, the lack of research into these sorts of procedures gives critics a reason to say they should be banned. But since we know the procedures are safe, why not put the time and effort into conducting the research? There is already plenty of anecdotal evidence that could form the basis of any such research.
The Healing Power of Stem Cells
What this all boils down to is the fact that stem cells have an amazing ability to promote healing. Take politics, regulation, and research out of the equation for just one minute and look squarely at human biology. Science has proven the stem cells are the building blocks of all human tissue. We know they are essential to healing.
Apex Biologix, a Utah company that furnishes doctors and clinics with regenerative medicine equipment and supplies, says they have seen the interest in regenerative medicine among clinicians growing in recent years. They say that doctors and patients alike are interested in what stem cells can do.
Perhaps someday stem cells will be a cure for chronic back pain. In the meantime, what else can we research?