Medical researchers and financial analysts predict a sharp rise in the use and development of regenerative medicine in the next five years. This may forever transform the way healthcare is administered and open new treatment options.
The healthcare industry is on the precipice of significant breakthroughs that will recalibrate how the public views medicine. These advances will alter the landscape in ways not seen in generations.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
The National Institutes of Health define regenerative medicine as the “process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage or congenital defects.
“This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves.”
Scientists also envision a future where regenerative medicine revolutionizes chiropractic care especially involving knee and spinal injuries by allowing scientists “to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory and safely implant them when the body cannot heal itself.”
The Money Talk
Economists valued the regenerative medicine industry at $18.9 billion for 2016 with growth projected to reach more than $53.7 billion by 2021. The compound annual growth rate is expected to reach 23.3 percent during this time, according to government statistics.
More than 700 regenerative medicine practices are operating globally. Government agencies and insurers continue to work through the process of developing fair and adequate regulatory oversight and gauging insurance reimbursements.
Regenerative medicine deals partly with the precise use of stem cells, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, and cytokines to treat patients suffering with structural and balance issues that conventional treatments are unable to address.
Government leaders are increasingly embracing what they consider a very promising and groundbreaking medical technology. Public employees are enjoying greater access and barriers to further research are slowly being removed.
Arkansas’ Emerging Therapies Act of 2017 puts regenerative injection therapies for treating orthopedic conditions on state employees’ and teachers’ insurance plans. Arkansas became the first state to institute polices that permit coverage of these emerging therapies.
“This could potentially save the state $100 million using regenerative medicine as an alternative to surgery or pharmaceuticals for orthopedic conditions,” said Morgan Pile, executive vice president of Strongside Solutions. “Regenerative injection therapies like platelet rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate concentrate and amniotic tissue have been shown to be effective treatments with up to an 80 percent savings of surgical costs while virtually absent of complications.”
Regenerative Medicine to The Rescue
Experts expect regenerative medicine to expand rapidly as the aging baby boomer generation seeks alternative and unconventional treatments, especially in the wake of rising demand for tissues and organs. As the tech-savvy older generation retires and as a risk-prone younger population segment seeks unconventional and “futuristic” remedies, demand for cutting-edge treatments like stem cells, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, and cytokines will grow.
Regenerative medicine relies on stem and precursor cells from several sources – amniotic and adult tissues, and reprogrammed cells – to enhance the use and effectiveness of tissues, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers predict the sophisticated use of regenerative medicine will supplant other forms of medical treatment.
Exploring the Future
Looking ahead, regenerative medicine holds the promise of recasting the healthcare industry by providing hope to patients suffering from serious diseases and grave disabilities, including victims of spinal cord injuries or organ transplant patients.Regenerative medical therapies will allow for full and speedy recovery without surgical side effects or mandatory, life-long treatments involving anti-rejection medications.