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Stem Cell Therapy - FAQ

Stem cells are un-specialized or undifferentiated cells, capable of two processes: self-renewal and differentiation/specialization.

Regenerative medicine is a new and advancing scientific field focused on the repair and regeneration of damaged tissue utilizing stem cells that promote natural healing.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a mix of concentrated platelets and serum. Why is this important? Surgeons have known for years that healing depends on platelets. These very tiny blood components are rich in growth factors and help form a blood clot during injury. When you injure an area like a ligament or a muscle, they seep into the wound during the bleeding that normally occurs. They then set up a blood clot to stop the bleeding and start to release growth factors to the area to coordinate a repair response. Over the first week or so, they act as a time release “pill” that secretes various growth factors as various times. These time release growth factors do things like bring in stem cells and bring in new blood vessels to ensure that the body can get more blood to the area. PRP is created when the doctor takes blood from a vein and places it in a special centrifuge to concentrate platelets (usually 3-5 times their normal concentration). To use a gardening metaphor, if you have a plant that is injured and not doing well, placing some more water and fertilizer in the ground may help your plant recover. Platelets are like fertilizer, their growth factors help rev up the local repair response. So PRP is generally good for helping things that may either heal on their own (given enough time) or are maybe stuck in the healing process and need a little “kick” to get things going towards resolution. While PRP may help recruit a few stem cells to the area, stem cell injection therapy is much more advanced.

For orthopedics in particular, if PRP is like adding additional fertilizer and water to the plant, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) are like placing new seeds in the area and hiring a gardener. MSC’s are capable of not only differentiating into the new tissue that is lost, but also coordinating the repair response (so the seeds and the gardener). So MSC therapy would be more appropriate for degenerative diseases where there is lost tissue (like chronic arthritis, a partial tendon or ligament tear, a low back disc where there are torn fibers allowing the disc to bulge). In addition, the lab prep for MSC therapy is much more complex than PRP. While PRP can be made in a simple bedside centrifuge, MSC’s are isolated and grown in a sophisticated cell culture lab by cell biologists usually over a over two week period. The upshot, PRP is great to kick start a healing process that may be stuck, MSC’s and other stem cell approaches will likely rule the day in regenerative medicine.

Adult stem cells are found in mature adult tissues including bone marrow and fat. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not found in the adult human body. ESCs are obtained from donated in-vitro fertilizations. The use of ESCs raises many ethical concerns for many reasons, one of which is that ESCs are not autologous (from your own body), thus, there is a possibility of immune rejection. Adult stem cells do not raise any ethical issues nor pose any risks for immune rejection. Adult autologous stem cells, as in the cells used by Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy, are simply your own cells working for you.

No, the cell therapy systems used by Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy only autologous adult stem cells isolated from the patient. Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy does not participate in embryonic stem cell research or use embryonic stem cells in any of our clinical applications.

No, adult stem cells do not raise ethical questions as they are harvested from the patient’s body and simply returned, or relocated, to that same patient during the same procedure.

No. Where embryonic stem cells have been shown to form teratomas (germ cell tumors), there is no data that suggests adult stem cells have the same potential to promote the development of tumors.

In adults, stem cells are present within various tissues and organ systems, the most common being bone marrow and fat tissues.

Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy uses a system that uses adult stem cells from bone marrow tissue. The stem cells are obtained through an aspiration procedure.

Adult stem cells are used to treat patients with damaged tissues due to age or deterioration. During the procedure, stem cells are isolated from the patient, concentrated and delivered back to the patient at their site of injury to assist in the healing process.

Yes, there are many types of adult stem cells found in the body that have variable differentiation / specialization potential. The adult stem cells that aid in the repair of damaged tissue are multipotent, mesenchymal stem cells. These are located in bone marrow and fat tissue. These cells can become only four different tissue types: bone, cartilage, muscle, or other connective tissues such as tendon or ligament.

No, Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy does not use in vitro expansion. The stem cells are harvested, processed in the procedure room, and delivered back to the patient at the same point of care.

The differentiation of stem cells is dependent on many factors, including cell signaling and micro-environmental signals. Based on these cues, stem cells are able to develop into healthy tissue needed to repair damaged tissue. For example, multipotent stem cells delivered to damaged bone will develop into bone cells to aid in tissue repair. Cells delivered into a joint or disc will develop into cartilage cells. The exact mechanism of lineage-specific differentiation is unknown at this point.

No, adult stem cells are autologous and non-immunogenic.

Autologous adult stem cells are currently being used in hospitals and clinics during surgery, and other procedures, to aid in the repair of damaged tissues. Stem cells are also being used in both laboratory and clinical settings. Laboratories are using human and animal-derived stem cells to conduct in-vitro studies as well as in-vivo studies with small and large animals.

Stem cells are currently being used in orthopedic, cardiovascular, trauma and plastic surgeries and to treat disease. At Center for Spinal Disorder & Stem Cell Therapy, we specialize in adult stem cell applications for both orthopedic and spine conditions.

For spine patients, if you have severe stenosis or spondylolisthesis, or other spine instability, you would not be a good candidate for stem cell therapy. For other orthopedic patients, a fracture or acute trauma (such as a complete ACL or meniscus tear) would exclude you. Even if stem cells won’t help you, we can evaluate your condition and provide you with alternatives. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

No, all stem cells are equal regardless of diabetes or other autoimmune disease.

Currently, insurance doesn’t cover stem cell treatment, but there are other orthopedic and spine treatments we can recommend that are covered by insurance. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

Orthopedic & Spine Stem Cell Institute is not offering stem cell therapy as a cure for any condition, disease, or injury. No statements or treatments on this website have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. This website contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions provided by this website are provided for educational and informational purposes only and we do not diagnose or treat via this website or via telephone. Orthopedic & Spine Stem Cell Institute is offering patient educational resources and information to treat individual patients with their own autologous stem cells and we are not involved in the use or manufacture of any investigational drugs.

We do not claim that any applications, or potential applications, using these autologous stem cell treatments are approved by the FDA. The results of treatment may vary in each individual. We do not claim that these treatments work for any listed nor unlisted condition, intended or implied. It’s important for potential patients to do their own research based on the options that we present so that one can make an informed decision.

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