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.
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.
Treating Why You Hurt, Not Just What Hurts
Remember that song from your kindergarten days, “The foot bone’s connected to the shin bone; the shin bone’s connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…”
The idea was simple: lots of different parts work together to help us walk, dance, jump, etc. Yet for too long, the field of pain medicine has centered on the idea that doctors should focus on identifying and treating one particular cause of a patient’s pain—a disc, a joint, a nerve.
But if we truly accept that the different body parts work together, then why should we simply focus on one source of pain? We know that the 24 vertebrae of the spine (neck, upper back, and lower back) act as one. We call that the functional spinal unit (FSU). We also know that the FSU is part of an even larger musculoskeletal system that involves muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
We have learned that for most patients, looking at the entirety of the FSU and its related muscles and tendons beats just treating one part. It enables us to determine why our patients hurt so we can begin to treat the underlying issues that create pain rather than just treating the pain itself. Our regenerative stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies use the patient’s own healing factors to speed the repair of tissue damage that is often the root cause of pain.
The pain medicine specialists of, an affiliate of , Cellandare trained and licensed to perform the Regenexx® Family oCell and stem Platelet procedures. They provide unparalleled expertise in stem cell and platelet-rich plasma therapy for orthopedic injuries and remain unrivaled in research presentations, publications, and academic achievements.
So stop settling for pain care that only treats what hurts. Let us address why you hurt so you can achieve long-term healing and pain relief..
Are Your Recovery from Tennis Elbow?
We are in the heart of championship tennis season: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. But you don’t have to be a Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal to suffer from tennis elbow.
Lateral epicondylitis (the medical term for tennis elbow), is caused by overuse. Although playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition, any repetitive motion of the elbow can cause the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow to become inflamed and painful.
The usual course of treatment for tennis elbow is a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm.
When these measures fail to bring relief, the traditional next step has been to use steroid injections to introduce anti-inflammatory medicines directly to the injured area. But these medications cannot heal the tissue itself. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, however.
Because they use the healing agents from your body’s own blood platelets, PRP injections have been shown to provide an effective long-term improvement in patients with tennis elbow. One study found them to be more effective than steroids.
The pain medicine specialists of Stem Cell Arts, an affiliate of National Spine & Pain Centers, are trained and licensed to perform the Regenexx® Family of Stem Cell and Platelet procedures. They provide unparalleled expertise in stem cell and platelet-rich plasma therapy for orthopedic injuries and remain unrivaled in research presentations, publications, and academic achievements.
Call Stem Cell ARTS today to learn more about the healing properties of platelet-rich plasma therapy so you can ace your recovery from tennis elbow.
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.
Fact vs. Fiction
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:
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.
-80% of adults experience back pain
-most common cause of job-related disability and leading contributor to missed work days
-incidence: men = women
-types: acute (lasts days to a few weeks), subacute (lasting 4-12 weeks), chronic (lasting >12 weeks)
Causes of Low Back Pain:
–age: initial occurrence usually 30-50 years of age
–low level fitness level: weekend warriors or sedentary-during-the-week-but-active-on-weekends folks are at increased risk of low back injury
–weight: increased weight will add stress to the discs and joints
–pregnancy: pelvic changes and weight distribution low and anteriorly stress the lumbar spine
–occupational: heavy lifting, pushing, pulling especially when it involves twisting
–genetics: some folks with have congenital (born with it) predisposition to back pain due to their genetic makeup as in ankylosing spondylosis
How is Low Back Pain Diagnosed?
-physical exam: physician/medical provider
-imaging: MRI, CT, x-rays, bone scans, blood work
How is Low Back Pain Treated?
–Traditional approaches: heat/ice, activity, physiotherapy, medications, chiropractic, traction, acupuncture, biofeedback, nerve blocks and surgery.
–Regenerative therapiesinclude: prolotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP), platelet lysate and stem cells. These treatment options are great for pinched nerves causing radiation pain to the hips or legs, facet mediated pain, instability, disc pain or SI joint dysfunction.
–Prolotherapy: is a solution of dextrose, normal saline and local anesthetic, used frequently to improve stability of the ligaments of the lumbar spine and sacrum/pelvis by injecting specific ligaments and supporting structures of the lumbar s: the supraspinous, infraspinous, iliolumbar, deep dorsal ligaments of the SI joint. Joints also benefit from prolotherapy. Therefore, facet joints, hip and sacroiliac joints can also improve low back pain.
–Platelet Rich Plasma: we draw the patient’s blood, like a blood donation, and through specialized lab processing, we collect and concentrate the platelets for reinjection into the joints, tendons and ligaments including: the facet joints, sacroiliac (SI) joints, and lose ligaments and tendons.
–Platelet Lysate: we draw the patient’s blood, like a blood donation. In our office, we have an ISO-5 lab where we are able to process the platelets allowing us to keep all the good content (growth factors, anti-inflammatories, chemotactic factors and signally molecules) and discard the rest. We then inject this concentrated growth milieu into the epidural space and peripheral nerves without irritation (sciatica, radiculopathy).
–Stem Cells: autologous (comes from the patient’s own bone marrow) are very potent progenitor cells that can help injured bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage and muscle to heal. Stem cells are typically used in the spine when there is significant or recalcitrant facet joint pain/osteoarthritis (OA) and/or significant disc degeneration.
All regenerative injections are done under guidance, using musculoskeletal ultrasound and/or fluoroscopy (x-ray).
Results vary depending on extent of injury/degeneration. Usually, a patient will get 1-3 series of injections to maximize their healing response. Not every patient is a candidate. We encourage patients to bring their imaging (x-rays, MRIs, CTs, etc.) that’s been done within 2 years, as this will complement the exam. New imaging can be ordered as well. We are proud to offer the most trusted and effective orthopedic stem cell procedures currently available. We welcome the chance to meet with you and to add you to our list of satisfied patients. Contact us today. Contact us today.
Medical history is full of treatment advances that were initially met with skepticism and fear. The idea of eradicating diseases such as polio and small pox by actually injecting people with weakened versions of those viruses required an enormous amount of public education and successful clinical research to demonstrate the vaccines’ efficacy. Yet we now know that outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera, measles, polio and small pox have been virtually eradicated thanks to these vaccines.
Today, similar fear and misunderstanding surrounds the use of stem cells to help the body heal injured tissues. Stem cells naturally self-renew, allowing for faster healing and recovering of damaged or worn bone or tissue due to injury or disease. By introducing new stem cells where there might be a lacking, the body can begin to heal itself without the use of invasive surgery.
Many people still believe that stem cells can only be harvested from embryonic stem cells, however, there are several other ways to obtain adult stem cells that do not raise ethical or moral concerns. These include:
Given their regenerative properties, stem cells have proven to be an effective treatment for numerous orthopedic conditions, including one that affects an estimated 14 million Americans, including 2 million people under the age of 45: knee osteoarthritis.
Stem Cell Arts uses Regenexx,® the nation’s leading stem cell and platelet procedures, to treat the chronic pain and inflammation that accompanies knee arthritis. Regenexx® provides the highest concentration of healing stem cells to help patients overcome the discomfort and immobility that accompanies arthritis in their knee—without the extensive recovery and rehabilitation required after invasive surgery.
If you’d like to learn more about how Stem Cell Arts can use the latest advances in safe, responsible regenerative medicine to help you overcome knee, back or other orthopedic pain, contact us today. We are happy to explain how advances in this exciting field of medicine can help you live without pain.