The definition of Regenerative Medicine is the process of regenerating or replacing human cells to restore or establish normal function. This is not a new concept, but modern medicine is working hard to generate new and innovative treatments. This weekend I was fortunate enough to present my thoughts on Regenerative Medicine on Non-Surgical Treatments for Orthopaedics & Sports Injuries in Athens, one of Europe’s great cities, historically renowned for its intrinsic links with the medical profession.
While in Athens I also had the opportunity to hang out with a very dear friend mine who is a world-class Sports Physician. He reminded me that the concept of Regenerative Medicine can be traced as far back as Greek Mythology. There is a tale where Prometheus, a deity figure in Greek Mythology and creator of mankind, gifted man with fire stolen from Mount Olympus to advance civilisation. As punishment for denying Zeus, Prometheus was bound to a rock where each day Zeus would send his eagles down to feast on his liver. However, each night the liver grew back to be feasted on the following day. It is a bleak tale, but the message of regeneration is clear.
Modern medicine tells us that the liver has a remarkable capacity for self-repair. Even with surgical removal, 70% of the remnant tissue grows to recover the original mass and function. The myth of Prometheus indicates that ancient people had noticed this incredible ability of the liver – even if they did not yet have the tools or knowledge to harness this power.
Each day there are substantial developments in Regenerative Medicine, however, it is still in its early stages and, as always, the struggle to find better and more effective treatment is challenging. I would suspect that in the next five-ten years, we will see significant breakthroughs in Regenerative Medicine. The fact that even the Ancient Greeks were talking about it proves our innate connection with this particular branch of medicine.