• Science Saturday: Orthobiologics can be nature’s healing agents

a centrifuge processing autologous platelet-rich plasma

Mayo Clinic physician-scientists are working on regenerative biotherapeutics such as orthobiologics and other regenerative bioinjectables to bring advanced procedures to more patients.

Orthobiologics are biological agents that stimulate healing when standard therapies don't work. Examples are platelet-rich plasma — platelets spun from a patient's blood that promote cell repair — and bone marrow aspirate concentrate that contains stem cells and many other cells that have shown potential for tissue regeneration.

"Orthobiologics are like nature's drug store," says Shane Shapiro, M.D., a sports medicine doctor and medical director of Mayo Clinic's Regenerative Medicine Therapeutic Suites in Florida. "Cells and growth factors that act as healing agents are taken from a person's own blood, manufactured, and given back to them. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine reports that 66% of orthopedic surgeons are using platelet-rich plasma in their practice, and 70% of those physicians say they are increasing the use to complement standard care."

Advancing biologics was a key topic at the Mayo Clinic Symposium on Regenerative Medicine & Surgery 2023, sponsored by Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics. The Center is committed to training the future workforce about validated regenerative therapies to help heal patients around the world. During the session, panelists also discussed insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. The session was moderated by Dr. Shapiro, with panelists Saranya Wyles, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologist; Cody Wyles, M.D., a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon; and David Lott, M.D., a Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat specialist.

Orthobiologics and the clinical practice of medicine

Platelet-rich plasma has been used in clinical practice for a number of other medical specialties, particularly musculoskeletal conditions, for over 15 years. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved platelet-rich plasma as a treatment for chronic diabetic wounds. Mayo Clinic's Regenerative Medicine Therapeutic Suites in Florida and Arizona now offer it as a covered service for Medicare and Medicaid patients who qualify. Mayo's Wound Care Clinic in Rochester is exploring the possibility of offering platelet-rich plasma as an option for nonhealing diabetic wounds.

Read the rest of the article on the Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics blog.


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