We’ve written about this many times before, but it bears repeating: when it comes to stem cell and platelet rich plasma treatments, if you fail to do your homework the results could be life-threatening.
Yet another rogue clinic has made the news for selling unapproved stem cell products that have made people seriously ill. The Washington Post reports that during the past year, at least 17 people in five states have been hospitalized with serious infections following injections of products derived from umbilical cord blood products. All but two of the illnesses have been linked to a single company in California.
We’ll say it again: not all stem cell therapies are the same. Products derived from umbilical cord blood products are not approved by federal regulators or supported by clinical research. That is why Stem Cell Arts physicians are trained and licensed to perform Regenexx® Stem Cell therapy, which is the world’s most advanced and uses adult stem cells from your own body—not amniotic or cord tissue cells.
Many people are unaware that adult stem cells can be harvested without raising ethical or moral concerns. These cells can come from the body’s bone marrow as well as from body fat that contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that contain high levels of restorative properties.
The Regenexx® Stem Cell procedure extracts your own stem cells, concentrates these cells at the highest level possible and reinjects them into the injured area to boost your body’s ability to naturally promote healing. The result is relief from chronic pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, herniated back discs, tendon tears or joint injuries. The entire treatment is conducted in our sterile, state-of-the-art office procedure suites and takes only a few hours.
If you—or someone you know—is struggling with orthopedic injuries that will not heal, please reach out to us. We have been performing stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies for more than a decade. Stem Cell Arts is recognized as a leader in the field of regenerative medicine and we have scores of clinical research and satisfied patients that attest to our success.
At StemCell ARTS, we often see patients who have had problems associated with knee surgery, such as a torn meniscus needing repair, surgery to correct an ACL injury or a procedure associated with osteoarthritis. Many of these patients did not experience the results they were hoping for and feel that the surgery has failed. In many cases, the surgery actually did not fail; it just did not go far enough into resolving all of the problems that the patient’s knee joint was experiencing.
Take the example of a torn meniscus surgery. The surgery may have been successful in removing the piece of meniscus that was torn, but it did nothing to address the additional instability in the knee, cartilage wear, or potential tendonitis that the patient might have. These types of issues can cause just as much knee pain as what the patient was experiencing from the initial injury.
You have many stem cell types in your body, and StemCell ARTs would like to educate you about the one that lives in your bone marrow and why it lives there and not somewhere else. We’ll do that through a discussion of fish and frogs. Meet the HSC.
What Are Hematopoietic Stem Cells?
You might not realize that our bones aren’t simply a scaffolding that serves as the body’s supporting framework, they are also one of the human body’s blood cell-producing machines. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the cells from which all blood cells (e.g., erythrocytes, lymphocytes, megakaryocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, etc.) are formed. Our circulating blood cells live hard and die fast, which means they must continuously be replaced. This assembly line of blood cell production occurs in humans in the bone marrow inside our bones, with those hematopoietic stem cells producing in excess of hundreds of billions of new blood cells daily, a process known as hematopoiesis (hemato- meaning “blood” and -poiesis meaning “producing” or “forming”).
Today, we’re going to focus on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but it’s also important to differentiate these from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are also primarily found in the bone marrow. MSCs, however, produce cells that form musculoskeletal tissue, such as bone (osteocytes), muscle (myocytes), and cartilage (chondrocytes) cells. However, HSCs can help repair muscle as they can replace muscle stem cells in time of need.
Interestingly, locations for HSC sources in non-mammals vary, often occurring in organs, such as the kidneys. Let’s explore.
HSC Location Attributed to Ultraviolet Light Protection
Researchers in the new study, using humans as the mammal observation and zebrafish as the non-mammal observation, investigated the zebrafish to determine why HSCs are sourced in the kidneys. The answer was found in melanocytes. In humans, melanocytes are cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which determines the color of our skin, hair, eyes, and so on. In other species, such as fish, snakes, and birds, melanocytes also exist and provide the coloring for scales, feathers, and so on. Researchers determined that a specific pattern of the melanocytes on the zebrafish actually shaded the kidneys, protecting them from ultraviolet light.
Researchers also tested the effect of UV light specifically on the HSCs in the kidneys of the fish (literally by turning the fish upside down in one test and exposing the unshaded underside of the kidney to UV light) and determined that the UV light damages the DNA of the cells. Therefore, the specific coloring design, the “melanocyte umbrella,” over the kidneys of the zebrafish protects the HSCs from damage, making the kidneys an ideal location in this species for HSCs.
Another fascinating facet to the study—researchers also studied the effect of UV light in terrestrial frogs. As tadpoles, HSCs were sourced in the kidneys, which also had the same melanocyte protection described in the zebrafish above. However, as the tadpoles grew legs and transitioned to land-dwelling frogs, the HSCs also transitioned from the kidneys to the bone marrow. This, again, was attributed to the HSC protection that would be necessary from UV light.
The study pointed out that in mammals, an organ, such as the kidney, would not be capable of insulating the HSCs from UV light; however, the bone marrow, well protected by the dense bones, provides the perfect light-free environment for HSCs to thrive and maintain their stringent blood cell-producing schedule.
Problems That Can Occur with Hematopoietic Stem Cells
UV light exposure or not, our HSCs can still become permanently damaged, either due to genetics (inherited mutations) or due to environmental factors (somatic mutations), such as smoking or chemical exposure. These mutations can be passed to replicate cells and can even lead to cancer and other diseases, though our immune cells do a pretty good job of destroying these bad cells. The risk of these somatic mutations, however, does increase with age, and when they occur in our HSCs, our risk of heart disease, stroke, hematologic cancers, and other diseases increases.
The upshot? Understanding the different stem cell types found in your bone marrow is important. In addition, turns out that there’s a reason that these critical repair cells live deep inside thick bone. They’re there to protect themselves and you from the harmful effects of UV and other types of radiation that may mutate these cells. So hopefully you’ll look at your bones a little differently now, as both structure and the key to a long and active life.
Call StemCell ARTs today to learn more about how stem cell obtained from your bone marrow can benefit you.
Edison HealthCare is pioneering a new level of health care for patients by avoiding inefficient and unnecessary treatments. As you likely know, Stem Cell Arts offers Regenerative procedures consisting of Stem Cells Platelets and Growth Factor injections to treat musculoskeletal diseases and injuries. We have helped many people avoid surgery, including replacement of the knee, shoulder, and hip, as well as treating sports injuries, like ACL tears and rotator cuff tears. These treatments use a patient’s own biologic components to actually heal the injuries or damage. You may also know that we have partnered with the company Regenexx, as our research collaborator, to ensure that the treatments that our patients receive are based on the finest and most advanced processes in the world.
That said, many of you have asked “when will insurance start to cover these treatments?” Regenexx, and we, as one of its licensed providers, are actively pursuing self-insured companies to get regenerative treatments covered. Self-insured companies are well motivated to cover regenerative procedures.
The Regenexx treatments, using biologics from your own body offer a solution that provides a low-cost alternative to as many as 70% of orthopedic surgeries allowing employers to save more than 80% on orthopedic costs. Obviously, employers paying their own medical bills are extremely interested in these alternatives and the savings that they can create. With this in mind, we are forwarding you the press release noted below with the link, so that you may read further on some of these relationships that are being made. If you work for a self-insured company, or have influence at the human resource or benefits level, you may be interested in making your company aware of these opportunities and, at the same time, helping herself by getting these procedures covered for your own use. This marks the true beginning of regenerative medicine as a medical specialty.
The use of stem cell therapy to treat osteoarthritis continues to grow, as does the field of research that supports this treatment. There are, however, some persistent myths about the treatment that we continue to refute. They include:
Stem cells are harvested from aborted fetuses. This is simply not true. At Stem Cell Arts, we use your body’s own stem cells to speed up your body’s capacity for healing itself.
If you are past a certain age, your stem cells are too old to be used. Again, this is false. If you are still living and breathing, you have proof that your stem cells are working fine. In fact, the registry data that we have collected since 2005 shows no fall off in stem cell efficacy when used for orthopedic treatments as you age.
Every practice that offers stem cell therapy is trained in its use. That’s like saying major leaguers and little leaguers all know how to catch a fly ball. Although they may know what they are supposed to do, it doesn’t mean they do it well or with the same level of experience and skill.
That is the Stem Cell Arts difference. Our physicians are board-certified pain medicine specialists who are trained and licensed to perform the Regenexx® Family of Stem Cell and Platelet procedures. They have been performing stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies for more than 10 years. They offer unparalleled expertise and remain unrivaled in research presentations, publications, and academic achievements.
Unfortunately, many other practitioners claiming to be specialists in stem cell therapy have done nothing more than attending a weekend training session.
When it comes to stem cell therapy, experience matters. Don’t fall for a quick sales job. Do your homework and you will quickly discover that Stem Cell Arts, an affiliate of National Spine & Pain Centers, is a big leaguer when it comes to safe, effective and experienced treatment of orthopedic conditions using advanced stem cell therapies.
Regenexx just posted a new article that does a great job of explaining why the Regenexx Network of doctors are truly experts in their field of orthopedic regenerative treatments. We have more experience and are guided by more research than any other group of doctors who are involved in this rapidly growing field. We are all musculoskeletal specialists with advanced training in image guided injections.
Yet doctors with all sorts of backgrounds, who have only taken a weekend course or two in regenerative medicine, are claiming to be renowned experts in this field. If you’re considering treatment for an orthopedic condition, please take the time to read this important article.