The term “orthobiologics” may sound imposing, but in reality, it simply refers to some of the substances that are frequently used in regenerative medicine. The word orthobiologics comes from both the word “ortho,” which refers to the musculoskeletal system, and biologic, which means a substance derived from biological materials.
In essence, orthobiologics are materials that are derived from sources that are living (or that once lived) and are used to treat orthopedic conditions. It’s worth taking a few moments to examine the different categories of orthobiologics, which are formed primarily upon the source of the material used.
Autologous vs. Allogenic Substances
One of the primary divisions in orthobiologics is whether a substance is autologous or allogenic. Many of the products created for regenerative medicine originate from the patient. These are referred to as autologous. Any time that a substance like blood or bone marrow is taken from the patient, transformed, and returned to the body, the substance is said to be autologous.
Allogenic materials, on the other hand, are derived from other sources, including products created from donors or from birth materials.
In general, the advantage to autologous materials is that you are less likely to have a negative reaction to the substance; however, some materials can only be created allogenically.
As you might suspect, blood-derived products are created by transforming blood into a new substance. For instance, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a popular treatment for arthritis, is created by centrifuging blood taken from a patient, collecting the platelets, and mixing them with blood plasma. This creates a blend that can help to promote healing within the body, alleviating the pain of arthritis.
These substances can be thought of as bioscaffolds, which can be used to aid healing in areas in which cell growth is slow or nonexistent. These cells are not alive; instead, they provide a medium, or matrix, that allows other cells to grow better, especially in tissues like bone.
These products are generally considered to represent the future of regenerative medicine, since undifferentiated stem cells can be used to create tissues of all different kinds. Typically, the higher the number of stem cells that are introduced, the better the results will be.
Exosomes are small packets of molecules that instruct stem cells. They are derived from whole stem cells, but are much smaller, and are typically able to be introduced into the bloodstream, rather than at the site of an injury. These advantages make exosomes powerful tools for the future of regenerative medicine.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for Orthopedic also known as Orthopedic Stem cell Therapy. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.