When Regenexx first started using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat orthopedic problems in 2005, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) were king. However, a funny thing happened in 2010, when the number of research papers published on MSCs equaled the number published on ESCs. Since then, things have gotten much worse for embryonic stem cell research, and mesenchymal stem cell research is now clearly dominating the mesenchymal stem cell vs embryonic stem cell battle.
Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are the cells that make a baby. They’re pluripotent, meaning that they have the ability to turn into all three cell types, which are ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. Basically, they are stem cells that can turn into most cells of the human body.
A mesenchymal stem cell is different. It’s a stem cell that’s found in adults (or really any individual past the age of embryo). It’s multipotent and can differentiate into a number of cell types that are of the mesodermal lineage. These include osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells), and adipocytes (fat cells). At StemCell ARTS we strictly only use the osteoblast which we obtain in the back pelvic area.
The public was introduced to the concept of stem cells following a ban on embryonic stem cell research. This forced ESC researchers to take their case to the public. Scientists told the public that stem cells could be a possible cure for many incurable ailments. Unfortunately, along with the ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells, it turned out that they also have a nasty little issue of causing teratomas (weird tumors). At the same time, many scientists began to recognize that stem cells could be found right in our own bodies in the form of mesenchymal stem cells. Hence, the race was on to see which stem cell type would become dominant. Mesenchymal stem cells are just more useful. They can be obtained from the patient without any ethical concerns and generally can do most of what ESCs can accomplish.
The upshot? Embryonic stem cell research is slowly dying off and being replaced by mesenchymal stem cell research. While this mesenchymal stem cell vs embryonic stem cell research reversal may have started because of the Bush administration ban, it’s accelerated since then because mesenchymal stem cells are just more practical as a therapy.
We’re all familiar with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the stress of getting the perfect gift for your loved ones. But what about something nice for yourself? Although our treatments are currently not covered under insurances, they are an investment in your health.
Regenexx/StemCell ARTS Difference
Weeks of recovery and months of rehab are associated with total or even partial joint replacements. While some patients might find that reasonable, there are those such as weekend warriors or athletes that are eager to get back to their desired activity. Our stem cell and platelet treatments afford patients with little to no downtime after their injections. Patients can have peace of mind knowing that there is not a foreign metal object in their body, which is a main (and valid) concern of most of our patients. Our treatments are minimally-invasive with little downtime to help you be the best version of yourself in 2018.
Contact one of our offices to see if we can help you find the perfect stem cell or platelet gift!
Tysons Corner, Virginia: (703)738-4381
Chevy Chase, Maryland: (301)215-4154
At StemCell ARTS, we love to hear patients provide their experience following regenerative procedures with our practice. It is extremely rewarding to hear tales of patients returning to the activities they love. Mark, a patient under the care of Dr. Rodney Dade in the Tysons Corner, VA office, was an avid runner who had been sidelined with knee pain. Mark provides his experience after undergoing the stem cell series of injections to treat his knee condition, bilaterally.
“This has given me a second chance that I didn’t think I’d ever have. I believe I’ve found the ‘Fountain of Youth.’ I’m extremely glad I decided to do it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. There are other options besides surgery.”
Regenokine has been the latest craze, especially in the NFL industry. These players require treatments that allow them to get back in the game without any restrictions. But is Regenokine actually more effective than our Platelet Rich Plasma?
What is Regenokine?
Regenokine is an updated form of Orthokine, which is basically a natural anti-inflammatory. While it still requires a blood draw like with our PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), it includes heating the cells and culturing them with glass beads. Per FDA regulations, this manipulates the blood sample too much, and would now be considered a drug. Therefore, this procedure is not allowed in the United States. Patients who want to have these procedures done must travel to the European countries. While there are more than 10,000 peer-reviewed articles on Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell therapies, there are 8 on Regenokine. Which typically means that the effects of this procedure are unknown or do not produce satisfactory results, even though it has been around for the same amount of time as PRP and stem cells.
While Regenokine may help some patients with inflamed knee joints (much like a glorified, and very expensive cortisone injection) it does not help regenerate or slow down the progression of arthritis like PRP or stem cells do. The only redeeming quality is its anti-inflammatory properties, which can sometimes take weeks to kick in. Without the healing components of PRP or stem cells, patients must return often for treatments, which on average cost around $10,000. Taking all these factors into account, more providers have gravitated towards Platelet Rich Plasma treatments as it offers actual healing and little downtime as well.
See some data on Platelet Rich Plasma vs. Regenokine on our Regenexx website!
Our StemCell ARTS team recently received amazing recognition from Maria, a patient under the care of Dr. Robert H. Wagner in the Tysons Corner, VA office. Maria explains her experience after undergoing the Stem Cell series of injections to treat knee arthritis.
“I have started taking walks and even joined a line dancing group thanks to your work. Every now and then I have pain to the point where I slow down and have to take it easy, at least for a day. With both the right and left knees affected by osteoarthritis I can’t really complain about the mobility that I have at this point on both knees. I am thankful that I had the injection done in the right knee and the stem cell on the left, both treatments have helped me up to this point.”
If you are a Washington DC sports fan, you might have seen the injury heard around the DMV. Bryce Harper with the Washington Nationals baseball team slipped on a wet base, went airborne, and landed on his side, clutching his knee in agony. An MRI found that found it was a ‘bone bruise’ and not anything more serious such as a torn ligament or tendon. Symptoms of bone bruises include: stiffness, swelling, tenderness, and possible fluid build-up. Although still touted as fairly serious, he is slated to return before the end of the season. Harper is considered lucky in comparison to many professional athletes who suffer career-ending injuries.
Not all bone bruises are serious and can be treated at home with rest and ice. However, for those that require more complex treatments, we are able to offer minimally invasive procedures to help speed up the healing process. These areas are weakened and more likely to suffer from micro fractures and are more susceptible for degeneration. According to the International Orthopedic Foundation, no athlete with diagnosed bone swelling returned to play after their ACL surgery. Stem cells and platelets would be able to help heal the bone bruise, and strengthen the area to protect it against future injuries. Since there is little down time for these treatments, athletes are able to return to their sport faster.
Check out Dr. Centeno’s blog regarding ACL surgeries with bone bruises, and some of the interesting data they’ve collected on the downside of surgical interventions!
One of the main questions that we get asked, is if our procedures are able to help those who have been recommended by their physician to receive a total joint replacement, and the answer is yes! Many people are afraid of the complications and hardware that accompany surgical procedures, which is understandable. We see many patients who are still experiencing pain after their total joint replacement.
Studies on Post-Surgical Pain
In a peer-reviewed journal published in 2011, researchers surveyed 632 total knee (TKR) and total hip replacement (THR) patients. 44% of total knee and 27% of total hip replacement patients reported experiencing pain (of any severity) months to years after their procedure.; with 15% of TKR and 6% of THR patients experiencing severe to extreme, persistent pain. Major depression, and referred pain in other body parts was found to be common in patients with severe pain. Total joint replacements are not small medical procedures, so while it is common for some patients to feel some pain, more persistent and severe pain can occur in others and affect mood and other body parts.
StemCell ARTS Solution
At StemCell ARTS, we are able to provide patients with minimally invasive alternatives to surgery. We are seeing more patients actively trying to avoid total joint replacements, and we hope that we can help! Our stem cell and platelet procedures contain powerful growth factors to help heal sprains, tears, and slow down the progression of arthritis. Make our appointment with us today, to see if you are a good candidate to avoid surgery!
Regenexx collects patient data to track outcomes! Patients fill out a survey that provides insight regarding your baseline pain and activities before our stem cell or platelet procedures. They (Regenexx) then follow up with patients every few months, and then years to record your progress.
We currently have about 3,500 patients who have completed a same-day stem cell procedure for knee arthritis. Only 3.57% of these patients reported that they had converted to a knee replacement after the stem cell series. The rate of patients who opt to receive a total knee replacement despite our very specific protocols, is low; which is what our physicians want as an outcome for our stem cell procedures.
How often do knee replacements after stem cell treatment happen? Not often but it does happen, and we believe in transparency. This is a procedure that can produce great results, but like all medical procedures, it can also fail to work.