New frontiers in regenerative medicine
The 2014 annual international BioBridge Foundation conference was held in October in Venice.
Each year the world’s best minds in regenerative medicine meet in the Italian city of Venice for the International BioBridge Foundation conference to delve into the latest innovations and future possibilities in their field.
RegenLab, known in Australia as the manufacturers and distributors of Regen Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), always supports the meeting, and this year, several Australian doctors attended the conference to keep Australia at the forefront of using PRP and stem cells in regenerative and aesthetic medicine.
‘BioBridge is a unique conference experience. Papers are presented solely in the field of platelet rich plasma and stem cell regeneration by medical professionals all over the world from nearly all disciplines,’ explains Sydney cosmetic doctor Dr Ronald Feiner.
Although a relatively new field, regenerative medicine is fast gaining traction across the globe. Researchers are exploring the possibilities in using the body’s own natural processes – calling upon platelets and stem cells – to help repair and replace human tissue and organs.
‘Many of the BioBridge presentations were at the cutting edge of regenerative medicine, discussing innovative uses such as combining PRP and bone marrow-derived stem cells to treat orthopaedic fractures, and using PRP in conjunction with hyaluronics in sports medicine and rheumatology,’ Dr Feiner says.
‘We also heard about using PRP alongside fat transfer grafting in improving facial aesthetics; and with stem cell enhancement in treating tissue defects.’
New technologies have seen refinements and advancement in regenerative technologies, and this has led to a more streamlined and affordable delivery to patients.
‘PRP and stem cell procedures are now spanning into fertility and sexual medicine which are truly exciting fields,’ explains Adelaide cosmetic surgeon Dr Robin Chok. ‘Regen Lab PRP kits have allowed stem cell-like treatment to be delivered at a fraction of the cost and easily prepared on a daily basis in any clinical environment.’
Autologous platelet-rich plasma has a history of use in the fields of orthopaedics, sports medicine, wound healing, neurosurgery, dentistry and ophthalmology, as well as more recently in cosmetic, plastic, maxillofacial and cardiothoracic treatments and surgery.
‘As a purely cosmetic clinic we are mainly focused on treating skin texture and condition with PRP,’ explains cosmetic practitioner Dr Catherine Stone from Auckland, New Zealand. ‘Fine crepey skin seems to respond best to PRP, resulting in thickening, smoothing and increased luminosity of the skin. PRP is our treatment of choice for the fine fragile skin around the eyes, and is one of the few treatments we can use to improve the skin on the upper eyelid without resorting to surgery.
‘Finely wrinkled skin on the neck, chest, hands and underarms also responds well to PRP treatments, while almost any skin will respond by becoming thicker, healthier and more luminous.’
Because of its healing capabilities, PRP can also be used in conjunction with cosmetic surgery to optimise recovery following the procedure.
What’s new in PRP?
The use of PRP, and the ways it can be applied, is ever evolving with the emergence of new research and technologies. This year’s BioBridge conference revealed some new ideas to increase the longevity of PRP results.
‘Until recently, platelet activators were used to “activate” PRP during injection, stimulating the release of more growth factors to “increase the platelet signal” to stem cells and fibroblasts to repair the treated area,’ Dr Stone explains.
‘At last year’s meeting we learned that whilst the activators trigger massive growth factor release in the short term, they stress the platelets to the degree that they die very quickly in the first few days. Studies show that not activating the platelets results in a slower, longer release of growth factors, which give a better long-term result.’
‘Like any good conference, a symposium such as BioBridge creates an environment of knowledge-sharing that combines groundbreaking academic research, with the practical application of how to utilise the latest developments
in technology in the real world,’ Dr Stone explains.