New Regenexx Research Paper: Leading Rather than Following

by Chris Centeno, MD /

platelet lysate epidurals How do you lead the exploding orthopedic regenerative-medicine space? You do what few other practitioners do: you publish your results on a regular basis. That’s what we do several times a year, and this morning I’d like you to introduce you to our latest peer-reviewed publication on the use of platelet lysate injected epidurally to treat irritated low-back nerves (radiculopathy).

What Is Radiculopathy?

Nerves exit each level of your low back and travel to the muscles. The discs at each level in your spine can bulge, herniate, or leak irritating chemicals. When this happens the nerve compression or dysfunction can cause numbness, tingling, tightness, or weakness in the leg. The same thing happens in the neck, but this impacts the arms.

What Are the Side Effects of Steroid Epidurals?

The most common way to treat radiculopathy is by injecting high-dose steroids into the space around the nerves, which is called an epidural. Hence, the injection is called an epidural steroid injection, or ESI. These procedures, in my experience, can work to reduce symptoms, but the steroids used have loads of side effects. These include whacking out blood sugar and cortisol levels as well as increasing fracture risk in older women. They also seem to have diminishing positive effects over time. See the video below for why I believe that happens:

Is There a Better Way to Treat Radiculopathy Without Harmful Steroids?

Way back when in 2006, we began a study injecting discs with stem cells, and the carrier we used was platelet lysate. What’s that? To learn more, see the video below:

The main advantage of platelet lysate is that it’s anabolic rather than catabolic. This means that it has growth factors that can help things heal rather than high-dose steroids that can destroy tissue by killing cells. Platelet lysate also has anti-inflammatory cytokines, like A2M, IRAP, and TIMPs.

Our Newly Published Data on Platelet Lysate

Our new research paper on platelet lysate epidurals was published this week. It’s registry data on more than 400 treated patients who had lumbar radiculopathy. These patients fared well, just like many patients who get steroid epidurals who have radiculopathy. However, what’s interesting is that these injections seemed to last longer than epidural steroid injections, which is consistent with what we’ve observed clinically as well. For more details about this data, see my AAOM presentation below:

Simple vs. Advanced Platelet Lysates

Anyone can make a simple platelet lysate (PL) by placing platelet rich plasma (PRP) in the freezer overnight. However, this PL will have lower growth-factor levels than an advanced PL. This lab data is contained in the video above. At Regenexx we were the first to use PL clinically and have developed lysates with much higher growth-factor levels. We’re now using our fourth-generation PL.

The upshot? At Regenexx we lead through research. If you’re thinking about going somewhere else for platelet or stem-cell-based treatments, ask them to show you their research leadership. While a handful of clinics can show you a paper or two on what they do, none will show you as much original research on what they do as we have listed on our research page. Finally, most clinics will be able to show you absolutely no research leadership, instead pointing to research done by others who use different techniques.

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6 thoughts on “New Regenexx Research Paper: Leading Rather than Following

  1. Sam

    Congratulations to medical community! This is the very paper it was waiting for!
    There are numerous copy-cat papers by novices out there who either are trying to buy fame or justify the grant they receive essentially reinventing the ill-wheel (ESI) that has more cons than pros. But being a pioneer and a leader is rare. It requires novel thinking, determination, good-faith and perseverance. Thanks for publishing the paper!

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Thanks Sam!

  2. Mark

    This is great information and inspires confidence in having the procedure done(going in one week to have PL in lumbar). Unfortunately, while this paper shows this is one of the best minimally invasive ways to deal with the symptoms of this condition, there is a massive portion of the population that will never have this done due to the out-of-pocket cost. When will insurance companies recognise the efficacy of this treatment and opt to help cover the cost. Very frustrating and disheartening to say the least. All that aside, well done Regenexx. Keep it up.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Mark,
      Very frustrating for us as well. Unfortunately, insurance coverage is not something we have any control over, as it’s an Insurance Industry issue. The one area progress has been made is with large companies that self insure their employees as they have a vested interest in their health and keeping cost down. These are the types of things that stand in the way: https://regenexx.com/blog/does-meniscus-repair-work/

  3. Kim Apuzzo

    I had this treatment with Dr Torrence in your Sarasota location and I couldn’t be happier. I did this after having two epidural shots that did nothing to relieve my pain. My husband is having the treatment this week for his herniated discs and hoping for the same successful outcome. So glad we found Regenexx!

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Kim Apuzzo,

      Wonderful news on both!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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