One exciting approach to wound healing, also known as "regenerative medicine" and "tissue engineering", has been the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which can be used alone or in combination with stem cells.
PRP gained recent attention when it was revealed that Hines Ward had undergone this treatment prior to the Super Bowl.
It turns out that flexible PRP supplies have been used for a long time, especially at our center to accelerate the healing of conditions like tendonitis and ligament strains.
A matrix graft is made from platelet-rich plasma. This is often called an autologous tissue transplant. The platelet-rich plasma matrix (PRP) is defined as "tissue graft incorporating self-replicating growth factors and/or undifferentiated autologous cells in a cellular matrix whose design depends on the tissue of regeneration and the receptor site." (Crane D., Everts PAM. Practical Pain Management. 2008; January/February, 12-26) 2008
Because platelets are normal blood cells, PRP can stimulate tissue growth. PRP stimulates collagen growth, which is the main component in connective tissue like tendons and cartilage. These factors include TGF-B, fibroblast growth, platelet-derived, epidermal, connective tissue, and vascular endothelial.
These growth factors attract undifferentiated cells to the injury site and stimulate their growth. Stromal cell-derived factor 1 alpha, another component of platelets, causes newly recruited cells to adhere to the area.
Additionally, PRP can be used with stem cells taken from bone marrow to stimulate stem cell growth. This is what drives healing.