Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs Temple Hills MD

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Edward G Alexander Jr., MD
(703) 461-7100
4801 Kenmore Ave
Alexandria, VA
Business
Northern Virginia Orthopaedic Group
Specialties
Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
James E Callan MD
(301) 891-6130
7610 Carroll Ave
Takoma Park, MD
Specialties
Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Zohair Shehzad Alam, MD
(301) 567-7200
6196 Oxon Hill Rd Ste 430
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Howard Univ Coll Of Med, Washington Dc 20059
Graduation Year: 1995

Data Provided By:
Jorge A Mondino
(301) 567-2330
6192 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Henry Di Lorenzo, DDS
(301) 839-2500
6130 Oxon Hill Rd Ste 304
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
David C Johnson, MD
(202) 291-9266
106 Irving St NW
Washington, DC
Business
National Orthopedics PC
Specialties
Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Rafik David Muawwad, MD
(202) 248-0708
6144 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: American Univ Of Beirut, Fac Of Med, Beirut, Lebanon
Graduation Year: 1974
Hospital
Hospital: Greater Southeast Comm Hosp, Washington, Dc; George Washington Univ Hosp, Washington, Dc
Group Practice: Metropolitan Wash Orthopedic

Data Provided By:
Kenneth Hrechka, DDS
(301) 839-2500
6130 Oxon Hill Rd Ste 304
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Melissa Ann Yadao, MD
(703) 549-1652
6144 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Va Commonwealth Univ, Med Coll Of Va Sch Of Med, Richmond Va 23298
Graduation Year: 1997

Data Provided By:
Christina Cervieri, MD
(301) 839-1600
6144 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Graduation Year: 2007

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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