It is easy for us to take our access to treatments like PRP therapy for granted. There are growing numbers of clinics around the country offering PRP and stem cell therapies for osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and more. Regulators in many other countries are still hostile to regenerative medicine. Thankfully, Scotland is no longer one of them.
Patients in Scotland finally have access to PRP therapy through private treatment provided by doctors at the Edinburgh Clinic. Since first offering the therapy in 2017, the clinic has already treated more than 30 patients. PRP therapy is not yet available through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Seeing Positive Results
Despite NHS speculation that rivals that of American insurance companies, the Edinburgh Clinic is reporting positive results. One of the first patients to receive PRP therapy is a 55-year-old amateur athlete who both runs and plays soccer regularly. Orry Nowosad has found competing difficult in recent years thanks to an injury he suffered 20 years ago.
Nowosad had never even heard of PRP therapy prior to his doctor recommending it. After consulting with his GP, he made a trip to the Edinburgh Clinic to see what they could do for him. The first thing they tried was a surgical procedure designed to remove loose cartilage.
The surgery helped somewhat, but Nowosad reported feeling like he was only at about 80% once he returned to walking and hiking. A year after the surgery his injured knee began bothering him again. His doctor recommended one of three choices: breaking and resetting the joint, steroid injections, and PRP. Nowosad elected to go with the third option.
Nowosad continues to undergo treatment at the clinic, but he has already made remarkable strides. He now runs 11 miles daily and plays soccer up to four days a week with only minor swelling. Back in May (2018), he completed the Edinburgh Half Marathon.
People Are Catching On
The most exciting thing about the story out of Edinburgh is the fact that people, especially doctors and regulators, are catching on to the potential of PRP and stem cell therapies. The two therapies are used here in the United States as a treatment for sports injuries, orthopedic diseases, and more.
We have an incredible amount of opportunity due to our regulatory environment, explains Utah-based Apex Biologix. As long as doctors employ regenerative medicine procedures that are minimally manipulative and homologous in nature, they are free to offer patients both stem cell and PRP injections.
Apex Biologix says growing numbers of doctors are doing just that. They would know. Apex Biologix sells regenerative medicine equipment and supplies to doctors and clinics around the country. This includes things like centrifuges and PRP and stem cell kits. The fact that they are staying busy is proof that doctors and patients alike are embracing regenerative medicine.
Perhaps Tomorrow, the NHS
It is encouraging to note that patients in Scotland can now access PRP therapy at the Edinburgh Clinic. As difficult as it might be for some people to travel to Edinburgh, the option is there for those who want it. Hopefully the NHS is paying attention. If the Edinburgh Clinic continues to demonstrate positive results, who knows? NHS officials may decide to start offering PRP therapy down the road.
Back here in the States, our own regulators are working on a framework that would simultaneously protect patients and still promote innovation among regenerative medicine providers. It is a delicate line to walk, but one that has to be mastered if we ever hope to realize the full potential of regenerative medicine.