BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- Regenerative medical procedures are some of the fastest growing therapies in the medical arena.
Stem cell banking is becoming more popular. Stem cells can be converted into heart cells, lung cells, brain cells, any type of cell in the body.
These days, older patients can take advantage of stem cell banking as well. A new technology gives older skin cells the ability to regenerate.
Vin Singh, President/CEO of Next Healthcare says, "About 6 or 7 years ago, there was a technology invented called IPS technology. That's a technology where you could take an ordinary skin cell and re-program it to behave like a stem cell."
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A fit lifestyle is important to 66 year-old Michael Arby of Potomac. But realistically, he knows that one day he may suffer from an age-related complication.
Arby says, "The thought is 'look, I know how healthy I am today, but none of us are gonna be healthy forever.'"
So he decided to "invest" his stem cells for the future. One day those cells may help regenerate damaged tissue, or treat other serious conditions.
Dr. Zidi Berger of Women's Wellness Institute in Bethesda says, "They ofer therapies for multiple conditions. From failing hearts to failing other organs; cartilage for their knees; bone-for-bone fractures and tumors."
A small skin sample is required to bank the cells. Right now over 100 clinical trials are underway, testing new treatments for this new medical frontier.
Dr. Berger says, "For instance, patients may have the possibility of growing a piece of their own pancreas in case of diabetes; of their own liver in case of liver disease; their own kidneys."
For Michael, banking the cells makes him feel much better about his future.
Arby says, "I just thought it was a good idea to have sort of a plan B."