Today’s post features a few key takeaways from a recent Wellness Your Way podcast interview. Find the full episode here, and be sure to subscribe to Wellness Your Way so you don’t miss future episodes!
Guest Bio: Drew Taylor
Regenerative medicine pioneer Drew Taylor is making breakthrough medicine accessible for everyday people. Drew’s interest in regenerative medicine goes all the way back to seventh grade, when he observed a total knee replacement. After the surgery, the doctor told him that, someday, people would use their own cells to heal their bodies. Ever since, Drew’s fascination with regenerative medicine has only grown.
Drew is used to juggling a full life; while obtaining his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Drew also competed as a pitcher in professional baseball. After a career-ending injury forced him to give up his sports career, Drew devoted himself fully to medicine, first working as part of Mount Sinai Hospital’s BioEngineering of Skeletal Tissues Team, then as Chief Science Officer at Epic Capital Management.
Drew wanted to help people find a way to use their own tissue to live not only longer but better. So in 2017, Drew co-founded Acorn Biolabs, a company dedicated to helping more people access the future of regenerative medicine by providing affordable, accessible, and non-invasive cell banking. Cryopreservation isn’t just science fiction anymore; with Acorn, Drew helping people prepare to live longer, look better, and get ahead of aging so they are ready for the future of regenerative medicine.
Top Insights from Drew Taylor’s Interview
- Regenerative medicine allows us to use our own cellular material to treat disease and aging so that we return to the pre-disease state. This can be at a cellular or organ level, and includes everything from aesthetic treatments for skin all the way to regenerating human organs.
- Each cell in our body is like a factory, and produces specialized products, but as we age, the factory output slows. When we strategically reintroduce cryogenically frozen (younger) cells into an area of the body, it can reinvigorate the factory and pick up production.
- Because this is a new field, quality and ethics can vary. Companies that publish results of their trials in peer-reviewed journals, and publish studies in partnership with academic institutions, can be considered at the forefront of ethics and honesty, according to Drew.
- PRP (or platelet-rich plasma) removes blood and separates the growth factors, then delivers them to a site of injury or tissue in need of rejuvenation. This is popular in aesthetic medicine and sports medicine, for injured or aging tissues like connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
- Regenerative medicine is not just taking out the growth factors from current cells, but getting cells to produce more of these factors for us. This best happens with cells as young as possible, which is why cell banking helps us “save” our cells at their youngest point (now) for use in the future.
- Acorn Biolabs exists to help clients by freezing their hair follicles now, so that they can reap the benefits of them later. At the time of need, the cells are likely too old to be beneficial. If we can save our cells now, we get the best benefit of our body at peak state, even years in the future.
- The hair follicle is ideal for regenerative medicine, because it has multiple germ layers of cells, it readily expands, and can be reprogrammed into different types of cells. This is why Acorn Biolabs chooses to preserve 50 hair follicles for their clients.
- We are right on the cusp of an explosion in utility of regenerative medicine technology. Within the next 10 years (and likely much sooner, according to Drew), this technology will be much more widespread and beneficial for all of us.
- Every decade we’re alive, the number of genetic mutations in our body doubles. Another reason that younger cells have so much power!
- Skin is the largest organ in our body, and takes the biggest hit from any potential damage (from sun damage to pathogen defense). It is also the most visible organ, so it gets a lot of interest. This is why a lot of initial regenerative medicine applications are focusing on the skin. There are clinical trials showing benefit for discoloration of skin, burn victims, diabetic ulcers, venous leg ulcers, rigidity, wrinkles, and so much more. And the skin is just the beginning! Listen to the episode to hear many more potential applications!
Want to hear the full episode, including how regenerative medicine is like the Wright Brothers, the first lab-grown organ that has actually been implanted into a human body, and so much more?
Head over here to catch the full episode with Drew Taylor!
Now it’s your turn! What is one thing you learned from this interview? What’s one thing you’re committed to changing after learning from Drew?