REGENERATIVE MEDICINE


Do you watch the Olympics? Feel fascinated by the sportsmen, not only for their performances, but also for something beyond common understanding – the ability to regenerate?

Have you been troubled by your joints, ligaments, muscle attachments, have you injured your knee, shoulder or elbow? Then it is probably difficult for you as well to understand how could for instance Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova suffer a bad shoulder injury in training on 14 December 2017 and win an Olympic bronze medal 2 months later.

Was she dosed up with drugs? How come she did not feel any restraint in movement? How come she had the courage not only to stand on her snowboard, but even to win the third place among professional snowboarders?

What was beyond her quizzical smile when asked how they cured her, and her answer: “With my own blood…”? Do you also want to get rid of pain, like her?

“In the World Cup race, Eva dislocated her shoulder joint. One that had been operated on, on top of that. She had a big swelling there,” says MONIKA GOLKOVA, M.D., Head Physician of the only certified anti-aging clinic in the Czech Republic where you can literally see miracles happen when patients are treated.

By the way, can you imagine seeing your doctor in a situation like that and telling him or her that you need to get on the slope as soon as possible? Are you afraid that the physician would think you a fool? But Eva Samkova needed to get back. And so she got – plasma.

“If we look through a really powerful microscope,” goes on dr. Golkova, “blood contains a variety of growth factors, blood platelets and a few stem cells. When blood is collected and carefully centrifuged using special equipment, these growth factors and stem platelets can be transferred directly to the affected site. For instance, into a painful joint with osteoarthritis or into a sportsman’s torn tendon. Regeneration is several times faster – the injury starts to heal with the body’s own substance.”

The principle of plasma therapy is, to use just one technical term, the biostimulation of collagen and elastin cells found in the skin, tendons or joints. “Our own plasma” says Monika Golkova, “is rich in blood platelets and has the ability to activate these cells and a stimulate them to produce new cells. This leads to regeneration and pronounced rejuvenation of the skin, or joint. It is a non-invasive method, no corticoids and drugs that, unluckily, always do have some adverse effects.”


THE MIRACLE OF STEM CELLS


You may have heard a similar story about stem cells that are able to solve a problem in a similarly natural way.

What is interesting is that two types of such cells can be found in our body. One type of stem cells contain genetic information instructing them to – let us say – make bone. And so, under favourable conditions, they naturally make bone.

The other type, however, is referred to as multipotent. It is as if they contained an entire manual of what they are able to make. And so, in the setting of a bone they make bone, and in a muscle they make muscle. In other words: They do what needs to be done. They can simply do everything. One could say jacks-of-all-trades.

And this versatility is made use of by anti-aging specialists.

“The stem cells are usually harvested either from the patient’s bone marrow, or fat tissue. A special method is then used to separate them, activate them and apply them into a joint, ligament or vein. And the effect is even greater than in plasma therapy. Why?” asks Monika Golkova. She answers in an instant. “As I have said, there are only a few stem cells in peripheral blood. In this second case, we directly harvest concentrated stem cells and therefore we work with huge concentrations, such as one hundred million stem cells per ten microlitres. Adult cells in particular are able to help form bone, cartilage, ligament, or even an immune, nerve or heart cell at the damaged siteBasically, it works like this: where you put them, there they start to proliferate and heal the site”, explains dr. Golkova, making another remarkable point: “In Israel, an entire “artificial” bone has been created from stem cells in a Petri dish.”


The first client? My husband.


The difference between plasma therapy and direct application of stem cells is reflected in the cost of the procedure. The collection, separation and purification of stem cells is obviously more demanding than the collection of blood. Monika Golkova’s clinic, however, definitely does not suffer from a lack of clients interested in the method. And who was the first? She smiles.

“My first patient was my husband. He injured his shoulder in a skiing fall and was not even able to stand up. Regular rehabilitation did not help, as well as anything else. He had a CT scan done and the doctor told him that he has a partial tear in a tendon – the one that holds the shoulder joint together –, and that nothing else can be done about it apart from eating painkillers and, when he can be admitted for a scheduled operation, they would cut open his shoulder and stitch the tendon together manually” recalls Monika Golkova.

However, he could not be scheduled for surgery earlier that in three months’ time. And her husband suffered every day. “You will not do much with a shoulder that does not work. And so I decided to try stem cells for the first time,” she says. “I harvested them from his bone marrow and applied them directly into the injured ligament under ultrasound control. He felt immediate relief – of course, it is a kind of fluid which always makes the patient feel better. And within a month he started to move his hand normally again. He did not go for an operation and surprised the doctor six months later – the small tear had healed.

“In my view,” adds the unique Czech specialist, “the future lies in this type of treatment. Stem cells are proper to the body, and so the treatment is not demanding for it. At the same time, almost everyone has trouble with a knee or hip. And as long as for example grade one and two osteoarthritis is concerned, stages that are only painful, stem cells in particular are ideal. In more advanced stages when more so-called osteophytes, or bone spurs, have formed at the site, surgical management is of course required. This is rather a preventive method for when orthopaedists tell you there is nothing more they can do.”

For both regeneration and beauty

Plasma therapy was all Eva Samkova needed to make her medal dream come true. The healing effect is felt almost instantly by the patients. Still, there is one drawback: “The treatment is not covered by health insurance, and so the client needs to pay the full cost. Nevertheless, I believe that the outcome will compensate for the financial loss; our experience with this method is excellent. By the way, the clients make use of it not only to recover from injuries, but also for beautification.”

In contrast to the common dermal fillers based on hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin and allows to fill in wrinkles or to reshape the facial contours, real regeneration takes place during plasma therapy according to Monika Golkova. “In addition, it is possible to combine plasma with hyaluronic acid, ensuring even better skin hydration and allowing for the elimination of deeper wrinkles.”

The principal advantage of the method appreciated by the clients is the application of material which is proper to the body. “Therefore, potential allergic reactions are virtually ruled out. For instance, blood plasma can be applied under the skin in the entire face. It makes the body’s own immune system work again and the sagging facial features are restored. The skin becomes more radiant, wrinkles are filled in and smoothed, and a lifting effect is achieved, all that without any surgical tightening, only with the help of substances we all have inside our body. Substances that are waiting for us to need their help at a particular site.”

Well, why not make use of that?




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