What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Regenerative medicine is an emerging branch of medicine with the goal of restoring organ and/or tissue function for patients with serious injuries or chronic disease in which the bodies own responses are not sufficient enough to restore functional tissue. A growing crisis in organ transplantation and an aging population have driven a search for new and alternative therapies. There are approximately 90,000 patients in the US transplant-waiting list. In addition there are a wide array of major unmet medical needs which might be addressed by regenerative technologies.
New and current Regenerative Medicines can use stem cells to create living and functional tissues to regenerate and repair tissue and organs in the body that are damaged due to age, disease and congenital defects. Stem cells have the power to go to these damaged areas and regenerate new cells and tissues by performing a repair and a renewal process, restoring functionality. Regenerative medicine has the potential to provide a cure to failing or impaired tissues.
While some believe the therapeutic potential of stem cells has been overstated, an analysis of the potential benefits of stem cells based therapies indicates that 128 million people in the United States alone may benefit with the largest impact on patients with Cardiovascular disorders (5.5 million), autoimmune disorders (35 million) and diabetes (16 million US patients and more than 217 million worldwide): US patients with other disorders likely to benefit include osteoporosis (10 million), severe burns (0.3 million),spinal cord injuries (0.25 million).
Source: M.E. Furph, “Principles of Regenerative Medicine” (2008)
Cutting Edge Procedure
You have made an important decision to have a stem cell procedure. It’s exciting that these tools are now available for therapeutic use. Stem cell therapy with your own stem cells may very well be the next significant advance in medicine
Where do we get our stem cells from?
The two most common areas used for stem cell harvest is Bone Marrow and Fat. Current opinion is that whether your stem cells come from your bone marrow or from your fat probably does not make a difference in terms of clinical results. The most significant advantage of using your fat as a source for the stem cells, is that the procedure can be done in the office in only a few hours, as the stem cells can be ready for injection after only 60 minutes of processing with our state of the art equipment. Your stem cells do not need to be sent out for processing and there is no need for you to travel outside of the U.S. to have them injected. Although some centers claim that bone marrow derived cells are superior to fat derived cells, there is no evidence to substantiate that. The fact that there are many more studies on bone marrow cells does not prove clinical superiority but merely supports the obvious fact that fat derived cells are based on more recent discoveries and more and more evidence is accumulating each year. It is important that one is not mislead by the word “bone” in bone marrow, possible implying that since this is an “orthopedic source” it “might be better” for treating orthopedic conditions such as cartilage regeneration. All of these types of cells have the potential to differentiate into mature functional tissues depending on where they are placed in the body. For many disease types such as cardiac pathology, adipose derived cells appear to be showing superiority to bone marrow derived cells. This may be related to the well documented fact that chronic disease causes bone marrow suppression. Such changes in the number of cells over time and the quality of cells dependent on health have not been seen in fat derived stem cells. Fat derived cells are a natural choice for our investigational work considering their easy and rapid availability in extremely high numbers.
Obtaining Stem Cells from Your Own Fat and Preparation
Patients have their stem cells prepared by first suctioning a small area of fat. in our sterile treatment facility at our office using a simple infusion of a lidocaine solution. This part of the procedure lasts approximately twenty minutes, using specially designed equipment to take off a small amount of fat from your abdomen, back or thighs. The amount removed is small and is unlikely to significantly change the area cosmetically. You are awake, but resting comfortably during the procedure.
After obtaining the fat cells, the next step is to isolate the STEM cells. The stem cell is of smaller size so it can be filtered out. The process used by Stem Cell Treatment Center yields extremely high numbers of stem cells.
Depending on your type of medical condition, stem cells can be injected directly into joints or organs, under the skin or through veins, arteries, or into spinal fluid. All of these are considered minimally invasive methods of introducing the stem cells. In the right environment, these stem cells can change (differentiate) into bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, collagen, neural tissue, blood vessels, and even some organs. Because it is your own DNA material, there is no rejection. The whole process takes a couple of hours in the office. You should be able to return to work the next day.