Stem Cell Therapy
What is stem cell therapy?
Regenerative medicine takes advantage of our natural ability to heal ourselves by using the healthy adult stem cells found throughout the body. Laboratory and clinical research has shown that it is possible to use adult stem cells to restore lost, damaged or aging cells to effectively regenerate tissue and provide some patients with an alternative to surgery.
Who is a good candidate for stem cell therapy?
While stem cell therapy may be appropriate for certain conditions, it is not applicable for every condition. Good candidates for adult stem cell treatment usually are:
- A patient who wants to avoid the inherent complications that come with an invasive surgical procedure
- A pain sufferer who is interested in an option that offers potential for an overall improved quality of life
- A person who understands that surgery sets off a cascade of further degeneration, and is prepared to benefit from the body’s own regenerative mechanisms.
Every patient is different, the success of the stem cell therapy is dependent on the severity of your condition and your body’s response to stem cell therapy.
Autologous adult stem cells are being used to treat many types of chronic pain and degeneration. Currently, doctors are treating shoulder, knee, hip, and spine degeneration, in addition to soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) and other bone related injuries.
How stem cell therapy works
An adult stem cell procedure harnesses and amplifies the body’s natural mechanism for healing and anti-inflammation. Once you have been identified as a good candidate for the procedure, a member of our team will review the procedure with you and answer any questions that you may have. A brief overview of the procedure is below:
- This mechanism uses adult autologous stem cells, derived from your own bone marrow.
- In the procedure, the physician will aspirate these cells from your hip, concentrate them, then deliver them back into your body in the area of damage or injury to aid in natural healing.
- In all, the process takes less than 45 minutes and the concentration of the cells takes about 12-14 minutes.
- Because your procedure will utilize a concentrated serum of your own cells, the procedure is considered “autologous point-of-care”.
Once the procedure is complete, our staff will allow you to rest and will create a customized personal rehabilitation program for recovery. We will either ask you to come back for a few post-operative appointments so we can track your healing progress.
Frequently asked questions about stem cell therapy
What are adult stem cells?
Adult stem cells are unspecialized or undifferentiated cells, capable of two processes: self-renewal and differentiation. They are vital to maintaining tissues in the body such as internal organs, skin, and blood.
What are the differences between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
Adult stem cells are found in mature adult tissues including bone marrow and fat, while embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not found in the adult human body. ESCs are obtained from donated in vitro fertilizations, which raises many ethical concerns. Because ESCs are not autologous, there is a possibility of immune rejection. Adult stem cells do not raise ethical issues and do not pose any risks for immune rejection.
Are there ethical issues associated with harvesting adult stem cells?
No, adult stem cells do not raise ethical questions as they are harvested from the patient’s body.
Are there cancer-causing risks associated with adult stem cell treatments?
No. While 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.
Where do adult stem cells come from?
In adults, stem cells are present within various tissues and organ systems, the most common being bone marrow and adipose or fat tissues.
What is the difference between autologous and allogeneic cells?
Autologous cells are taken from the same patient, typically at point-of-care. Allogeneic cells are taken from another patient and are often manipulated before they are given to another patient.
How do you obtain adult stem cells for use in cell treatment?
We currently have a system that uses adult stem cells from bone marrow and these stem cells are obtained through aspiration during your procedure.
How do stem cells know what type of tissue to develop into?
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. The exact mechanism of lineage-specific differentiation is unknown at this point.
What is the recovery like after a stem cell procedure?
If you have a joint injection, you typically can go back to work. It is advised to limit load bearing activities for at least 2 weeks. If you had disc injections, you should take it easy for a few days. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) should be withheld for 72 hours pre-procedure and one week after the procedure.
Will my body reject the stem cells?
No, adult stem cells are autologous and non-immunogenic.
Is stem cell therapy safe?
Yes, and ask your doctor what clinical studies have been done to show that stem cells are safe and effective.
How long will the stem cells last?
It will depend on your injury, the area that is treated, and your response to the therapy.