Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs North Providence RI

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Edward Akelman, MD
(401) 457-1500
2 Dudley St
Providence, RI
Business
University Orthopedics Inc
Specialties
Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Dr.Michael Wiggins
(401) 459-4001
285 Promenade Street
Providence, RI
Gender
M
Education
Medical School: George Washington Univ Sch Of Med & Hlth Sci
Year of Graduation: 1988
Speciality
Orthopedic Surgeon
General Information
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 1, reviews.

Data Provided By:
Joseph A Izzi
(401) 353-5520
1351 Smith St
North Providence, RI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Dr.Christopher Huntington
(401) 272-9500
955 Chalkstone Avenue
Providence, RI
Gender
M
Education
Medical School: Jefferson Med Coll-Thos Jefferson Univ
Year of Graduation: 1990
Speciality
Orthopedic Surgeon
General Information
Hospital: Roger Williams Med Ctr, Providence, Ri
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 2, reviews.

Data Provided By:
Christopher Fell Huntington
(401) 272-9500
955 Chalkstone Ave
Providence, RI
Specialty
Orthopaedic Surgery of the Spine

Data Provided By:
Michael E Wiggins
(401) 459-4001
285 Promenade St
Providence, RI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Eric Paul Launer, MD
(401) 272-9500
955 Chalkstone Ave
Providence, RI
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of South Fl Coll Of Med, Tampa Fl 33612
Graduation Year: 1994

Data Provided By:
Christopher F Huntington, MD
(401) 272-9500
955 Chalkstone Ave
Providence, RI
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Jefferson Med Coll-Thos Jefferson Univ, Philadelphia Pa 19107
Graduation Year: 1990
Hospital
Hospital: Roger Williams Med Ctr, Providence, Ri; Our Lady Of Fatima Hosp, N Providence, Ri; St Joseph Health Services, Providence, Ri
Group Practice: Orthopaedic Institute

Data Provided By:
Philippe Sylvestre Cote
(401) 459-4001
285 Promenade St
Providence, RI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Joseph Anthony Izzi
(401) 353-5550
1351 Smith St
North Providence, RI
Specialty
Hand Surgery

Data Provided By:
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Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs

The lines and wrinkles on our faces aren't the only signs of the inevitable aging process. Progressive degenerative changes have also been documented in the spine. One of the areas of great interest is the intervertebral disc . New biologic therapies for aging discs are the subject of this review article on the topic.

There are 33 vertebrae or spinal bones. Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid center. These discs provide the cushion that allows your backbone to bend and twist. Discs also act like shock absorbers as we walk, run, and jump. Each vertebral segment consists of bone next to bone with a cartilage cushion between. They are tied together with connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.

Degenerative disc disease is an example of something that affects most people as they get older. Everyone is going to have a certain amount of damage to the spine. This occurs throughout a lifetime. The discs can flatten, and protrude from between the bones. In time, most people will have small tears in the outer layers of these discs.

Finding ways to repair damage to the discs is the focus of many research studies. One of the most recent directions in research has been the use of biologic therapies to restore the disc. Examples of these treatment approaches include disc cell reimplantation, stem cell implantation, disc denervation, injection of therapeutic proteins, and gene therapy.

What are these therapies and how do they work? Biologic therapies of this type are meant to help at the cellular level. Scientists have shown that inside the cells of the disc there is a limited amount of blood flow. As a result, there are waste products building up. The cell becomes very acidic and that is a harsh environment that doesn't support cell health very well.

As we age, there are fewer new cells to replace the old. Fluid leaks out of the discs that never gets replaced. We start to lose the strength of the discs needed to cushion and support the spine. A loss of disc height can lead to disc space collapse.

That's what's happening on the inside at the cellular level. On the outside, the affected individual may not feel anything until the degenerative process has gone on quite a while. Eventually, back pain, loss of motion, and loss of function get our attention. By then, there may not be much that can be done to save the disc. Right now, surgery to remove the disc is often the only option.

That could change if any of these biologic therapies can be perfected. Right now they are still in the experimental stages. Most of the studies have been done on animals but a few human trials have been conducted.

For example, disc tissue reimplantation is a process in which a few healthy cells are removed from an intact disc. They are taken to a lab where they can be multiplied and then reinjected into the diseased disc. The hope is that the new, healthy cells will replace the damaged cells and restore the strength of t...

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