Until recently, the taboo associated with stem cell technology kept regenerative medicine outside of mainstream medical research. Sarasota’s Dr. Joseph Greco, director of clinical research at the four-year-old OroGen BioSciences, says that is beginning to change. Through stem cell and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) research, Greco and the OroGen staff are developing techniques to use a body’s existing cells to heal wounds and regenerate bones, ligaments, tendons and hair. “We are increasing the body’s ability to heal itself,” says Greco.
Greco attributes increased acceptance of regenerative medicine to articles in medical publications and to a number of high-profile cases, such as NFL wide receiver Hines Ward’s injury in 2009. Ward received PRP treatment for a knee problem that typically requires at least four weeks of recovery. Two weeks later, he played an integral part in a Super Bowl victory. “People see that and ask their doctors about it,” says Greco, “and the doctors call us for training. In the past four years we’ve trained doctors treating people in 26 different countries. We’ve seen more than 3,000 procedures without a single adverse side effect.”
With a staff of five employees, OroGen does not have the resources to market its technology on a large scale. “We’re a research and development company,” says Greco. “Our goal is to train individual physicians and to develop technology we can pass on to a bigger company.”