Regenerative medicine seeks to restore the functionality of cells, tissues, organs, or genes. In particular, stem cell therapy is among the most promising forms of regenerative medicine. This is due to the fact that stem cells are not specialized cells and can, therefore, transform into any cell or tissue with which they come into contact, including that of muscle, tendon, bone, and ligament. From supporting regrowth of meniscal cartilage in the knee to the self-renewal of central nervous system (CNS) tissue, stem cell therapy has shown a potential option of treatment for a broad range of conditions and injuries.
Stem cell therapy is an emerging regenerative medicine option for those who have sustained the central nervous system (CNS) damage including traumatic brain injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis. CNS injury is characterized by an inflammatory response, molecular imbalance, cell death, and cyst and scar formation. Researchers suggest that co-therapies, such as physical rehabilitation, could help be a potential booster for their stem cell therapy treatment outcome.
Studies have shown stem cells’ ability to aid in CNS recovery but may also suggest that while significant improvement is made, the treatment is often not enough to completely recover CNS functionality without further intervention. In conjunction with physical therapy, stem cell therapy could produce stronger results. Targeted exercises can produce beneficial effects at the anatomical and physiological levels, thereby positively influencing neural stem cell pools and improving stem cell therapy outcomes. Exercise has been shown to augment stem cell transplantation following muscular injuries in certain studies, but further research is needed to determine exactly how physical therapy and stem cell treatments can be used to support optimized recovery on a case-by-case basis.
Moving forward, it is suggested that physical therapy could help as a supplement to stem cell therapy. By partnering these two therapeutic approaches, patients may be able to potentially improve their treatment outcomes as well as enhancing functionality and quality of life.