Regenerative medicine has received a lot of bad press in recent years. That is unfortunate because certain regenerative procedures have proved successful for patients across the country. Much of the bad press is due to misinformation. It is the result of journalists not understanding the fundamentals of regenerative medicine science.

For example, did you know that all regenerative medicine treatments can be categorized as either autologous or homologous? Just knowing these two types of regenerative medicine therapies opens up a whole new understanding of things like stem cell injections, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and bone marrow transplants for leukemia.

The Basics of Regenerative Medicine

Before getting into the actual definitions of autologous and homologous regenerative medicine therapies, a basic understanding of regenerative principles is in order. Regenerative medicine is based on the concept of finding ways to help the body heal itself rather than relying on aggressive interventions or being content to merely treat symptoms.

Unfortunately, most Western medicine is focused on symptoms; very few Western treatments can actually cure. Doctors prescribe medications or recommend medical procedures as a way to alleviate symptoms. If any healing takes place, it is because the body is doing what it is naturally designed to do.

Regenerative medicine seeks to encourage the human body’s natural healing response. The theory is that natural healing not only leads to symptom relief, but also addresses the root causes of a person’s health problems.

Autologous and Homologous Treatments

Moving on to the main topic of this post, autologous and homologous treatments represent two similar but distinct approaches to regenerative medicine. Autologous treatment is one for which the patient being treated provides the material necessary for that treatment. PRP therapy is a good example.

Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX offers PRP injections for soft tissue injuries and diseases. PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood. Blood is drawn, processed in a centrifuge to isolate platelets and growth factors, and injected at the site of the patient’s injury.

Homologous therapies rely on materials from other sources. Bone marrow transplants are the perfect example. In a bone marrow transplant scenario, the transplanted marrow comes from a donor who is separate from the patient being treated. If the transplant takes as intended, the patient’s body has healthy bone marrow to work with. It can then begin the healing process that sends leukemia into remission.

FDA Approval for Regenerative Therapies

Earlier, you read about misinformation and bad press relating to regenerative therapies. One of the biggest complaints against regenerative medicine is that it is not FDA approved. But just making that statement doesn’t even begin to tell the story. Regenerative medicine deserves more context.

To date, bone marrow transplant is one of only a very small number of homologous regenerative medicine therapies with FDA approval. Anyone pushing a non-approved homologous treatment is not only violating the law, but also endangering patient safety.

Autologous therapies are an entirely different animal. PRP and stem cell injections, for example, do not need further FDA approval. Under current regulations, autologous procedures are deemed safe because the biological material is donated by the patient and that material is minimally manipulated.

Safe and Effective

The fact of the matter is that autologous regenerative medicine therapies are safe. The FDA agrees they are safe. As to whether they are effective, clinical studies have been limited due to the fact that they are expensive and time-consuming. Yet there is plenty of self-reported evidence suggesting they are. Indeed, there is enough such evidence in support of regenerative medicine to make it worth investigating.