I woke up earlier this week to the morning news that my parents usually tune in, and my brain of course picked up the word “centrifuge.” Not commonly said in everyday conversation, I ran to the tv to listen to what was going on, even before basic hygienic rituals (such as brushing my teeth & washing my face) and breakfast. Like the eager (future) biologist I am.
The newscasters’ resident doctor on the show, was explaining the “Orthokine therapy” that Yankees star Alex Rodriguez had decided to undergo. I don’t usually follow baseball, but while watching the basketball game between the Lakers & Knicks on Thursday night, I found out that apparently Lakers Kobe Bryant was the one who recommended the therapy to A-rod.
According to Dr. Wehling, inventor of Orthokine therapy, joint diseases such as osteoarthritis are not only caused by the wearing down of the bones and cartilage. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) flags down other proteins to either fight a site of infection or damage, like any good and obedient immune system component would. However IL-1 also causes inflammation which may lead to the breakdown of cartilage and a lot of pain. The idea behind Orthokine therapy is to inject an “anti-IL-1” to counteract the harmful effects by displacing the IL-1.
Here is a great video of Dr. Wehling from ABC news that explains the procedure.
Of course this story is even more controversial because orthokine therapy is not approved by the FDA in the States, therefore Rodriguez had to go to Germany for the treatment.
This is not the first time an athlete has gone overseas in attempt to cure themselves of ailments using non-FDA approved procedures. Naomi (http://fromheretoforever.wordpress.com/) wrote and spoke about the Colt’s Peyton Manning and his use of stem cell surgery in attempts to remedy a neck injury. Again I don’t follow football either (though Naomi & my sister root loud enough to cover for my lack of NFL spirit), it makes me sad to see the better Manning unable to do what he loves best.
Though on side note, I am really noticing a trend. Personal medicine is really what is the future of medicine from what I can tell. Biopharmaceuticals will be booming soon because people are interesting in using what people are literally made of as the source of treatments and cures. In the case of Orthokine therapy, we are extracting blood from a patient incubating it with special factors, spinning it down, and reinjecting it at a specified part in pain of that same patient. I guess thought process is, how can the body react badly if it comes from the same source? It’s really both intimidating and fascinating.
(image taken from Orthokine therapy website listed below in sources as #2: Wehling-Hartmann.de…)