Stem cell therapy is an exciting new treatment, and new benefits of using stem cells are discovered on a regular basis. As a result, some clinics are making claims of healing that, scientifically, they may not be able to support. It’s important to be as informed as possible when you make your decision. Know how to ask the right questions to ensure that you get the treatment – and the results – you’re looking for. Always make the best decision for your health and don’t be afraid to ask to speak to former patients to learn about their firsthand experience.
Stem cells are unspecialized 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.
The adult stem cells used in adult stem cell therapy are found in mature adult tissues including bone marrow and fat. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not found in the adult human body, but obtained from donated in-vitro fertilizations. Use of ESCs raises 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 – the cells used by the Premier Stem Cell Institute – are simply your own cells working for you.
No, the cell therapy systems used by the Premier Stem Cell Institute use only autologous adult stem cells obtained from the patient. The Premier Stem Cell Institute does not participate in embryonic stem cell research or use embryonic stem cells in any of its 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. Whereas embryonic stem cells have been shown to form teratomas (germ cell tumors), there is no data to suggest 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.
The Premier Stem Cell Institute 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 the 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, the Premier Stem Cell Institute 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 depends 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, as well as to treat disease. At the Premier Stem Cell Institute, 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.
The Spine Institute is currently enrolling patients for two Mesoblast studies. Learn more here. The Premier Stem Cell Institute has ongoing enrollment, and wait-listing, for autologous adult stem cell application studies. Click here to contact our research coordinator for more information.
Blood is drawn from an individual. Plasma and platelets are then extracted from the blood and injected into the same individual’s injury site. Platelets contain high levels of growth factors, aka cytokines, which help the body initiate the healing process by recruiting stem cells to the damaged area. The cells catalyze tissue regeneration through the development of new blood vessels, bone, cartilage, and collagen synthesis. PRP can also assist in regenerating skin and soft tissue for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease and burns.
Yes, the risk is minimal because the treatment uses your own blood platelets and plasma. This eliminates the risk that the injection will transmit disease or be rejected by your body.
PRP is recommended for patients with moderate injuries, or those whose symptoms aren’t relieved by conservative treatments, such as rest, medication, and physical therapy. A physician will review your medical records to let you know if this procedure is for you.
A number of conditions are treated with PRP, such as problems with the hips, knees, arms, lower legs and feet.
This depends on the injury and its severity. Most patients see improvement within two to six weeks.
There may be discomfort when the PRP is injected. Pain medication is usually provided for soreness and swelling, which are common the first two days after the procedure.
Almost everyone can be treated, but it is not recommended for individuals who have:
Bleeding disorders (or take high dosages of warfarin) | Clotting deficiencies | Low platelet counts (anemia) | Active cancer| Active systemic infection | Cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease
Warnings are also placed for people who smoke, have unstable low blood pressure, or use chronic cortisone therapy.
Typically there is no downtime. Patients may return to full activity as tolerated.
It varies. An individual may need just one treatment, and another may need three to four.
PRP does not provide immediate relief. Instead, it sets in motion a repair mechanism that does take time.
In most cases, insurance does not cover PRP. Check with your provider for more information.
The answer is no, in most cases. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) covers PRP only for patients who have chronic non-healing diabetic pressure or venous wounds, and are enrolled in an approved clinical research study.
CMS issued a Medicare National Coverage Determination on August 2, 2012, which allows coverage of autologous PRP under coverage with evidence development (CED) with certain conditions. The complete determination is available on our website.