A new study published in Neuro Report sheds light on the promising use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in treating brain and spinal cord injuries.
Although PRP has been used for years to treat a wide array of orthopedic injuries including tendons, ligaments, and joints, it’s application in other medical fields is the subject of numerous research projects around the world. While the benefits of PRP in orthopedic regenerative therapies are now widely accepted, the regenerative effects of PRP on spinal cord injury had previously never been reported before this new study.
PRP is rich in numerous growth factors that are associated with the repair processes after injury to the central nervous system which is consists of the brain and spinal cord. This study examined the ability of PRP to enhance the growth of nerve tissues and to identify which growth factors were responsible for that growth. The study suggested that addition of PRP promoted nerve axon growth, particularly through mechanisms associated with growth factors known as IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor).
We are hopeful that new evidence such as this will open the door for other spine applications of PRP such as epidural injections instead of using steroids. While more studies are needed and while we are likely years away from potentially applying these treatments in humans for neurolgic problems such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury, it is encouraging to see new studies that suggest the healing and reparative effects of PRP in other fields of medicine!