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Regenerative Medicine: What is it? How can it treat orthopedic conditions?

The body is designed to heal itself. For example, when you cut your finger, blood platelets clot to stop the bleeding and healthy cells repair the damaged tissue. Regenerative medicine harnesses the body’s natural healing processes to repair tissues, organs, and bones that have been damaged by disease, injury, or repetitive use. Although still in its infancy, regenerative medicine is being utilized widely in orthopedics as a way to accelerate healing, reduce pain and inflammation, and restore joint function.

Let’s take a look at some of regenerative medicine’s orthopedic applications:

  • Orthobiologics: These are products made from substances naturally found in the body that help injuries to bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage heal more quickly.
  • Viscosupplements: Products enhanced with hyaluronic acid (HA) are injected into the joint to treat pain caused by osteoarthritis, and to improve lubrication so the joint moves with less friction. HA is a gel-like substance found throughout the body and it plays a significant role in many biological processes, helping to encourage cell growth and differentiation, heal wounds, and fight inflammation. Because it’s native to our bodies, HA is a natural candidate for use in regenerative medicine.
  • Bone regeneration: The body can often regenerate bone when it has fractured, but if the damage is too extensive or there are other issues at play, surgeons are using techniques such as implantation of bone substitutes, bone grafts, and distraction osteogenesis (the bone is cut, stretched, and new bone grows to fill in the gap) to address problems.

Tactoset® is an injectable calcium phosphate, HA-enhanced bone repair therapy for the treatment of bone voids and other bone defects, including insufficiency fractures. It follows the regenerative medicine playbook because once injected, it hardens and mimics the properties of certain types of bones, then remodels into healthy bone over time. Tactoset recently received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a new use: augmenting the placement of hardware (such as suture anchors) used in orthopedic surgery. Augmenting the hardware can result in 2X anchor pull out strength1

Although still in its infancy, regenerative medicine holds great promise in the field of orthopedics as researchers develop cutting-edge therapies to repair damage to our musculoskeletal systems. To find out more about how Anika is harnessing the power of this medical revolution, check out our find a doctor tool.

1. Data on file, Anika Therapeutics, Inc