Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have been called “patient-specific drug stores for injured tissues” because of their broad range of healing abilities. MSCs are directly responsible for healing damaged tissues after injury. Upon encountering damaged tissue, they release proteins that decrease inflammation, kill invading microbes, and trigger the growth of new connective tissues and blood vessels.
When we take MSCs from your own bone marrow, from your own fat, or from both, concentrate and/or isolate them, and then inject them directly into your problem area, we ‘trick’ your body into thinking that there has been a new injury without actually causing any tissue insult, and you get a second chance at healing.
Please note – due to recent changes in the regulatory environment, we are in the process of phasing out the use of adipose-derived stem cells and plan to totally discontinue the use of fat by December 2021.
While stem cell therapy shows promise in the rapidly growing body of scientific data, it has not been scientifically proven to be effective. Based on full-time stem cell therapy experience since 2010 and regenerative medicine experience since 2002, we are very careful to only treat patients that we think we have a chance of helping. Namely; patients who are in overall good health who suffer from chronic pain caused by damaged or degenerated musculoskeletal tissues (such as joints, spine, or ligaments), that is not “too far gone”. We do not treat any systemic disease at all. While we have helped many people, there are people we have treated that we have not helped at all. Our experience is that overall, we help more people than we don’t help, but there is nothing about stem cell therapy that is either a “miracle” or a “cure”.
2 Options for Treatment:
"Bare Bones" versus "The Kitchen Sink"
Bare Bones: this is very simply the use of bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) with the option to use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for patient comfort. This was Dr. Adelson's primary approach to stem cell treatment from 2010-2015. It is a simple and affordable way to deliver stem cells to the areas of concern. Patients have the option to add exosomes and amniotic membrane/fluid to their BMAC (see below for explanation).
The Kitchen Sink: this is the approach that Dr. Adelson developed in 2016 and has primarily performed in most cases ever since. It is the combination of stem cells from a patient's bone marrow AND from their fat with the addition of exosomes and amniotic membrane/fluid all done while the patient is comfortably asleep thanks to board certified anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists (same medication that are used during colonoscopy - not general anesthesia). It represents a jump in price from "Bare Bones", but it is the very reason Dr. Adelson is the stem cell doctor to Mark Hyman MD, Dave Asprey, John Grey PhD, Vishen Lakhiani, and Ben Greenfield. It is what sets him apart because it is the world's most comprehensive approach to stem cells for pain, delivered with integrity and human compassion.
BONE MARROW ASPIRATE CONCENTRATE (BMAC)
Bone marrow is rich in growth factors and stem cells. It is important to understand that bone marrow harvesting for BMAC is vastly simpler than bone marrow harvesting for transfusion for cancer therapies. For our purposes, BMAC requires a relatively small amount of bone marrow from a single puncture site.
The procedure has an excellent safety profile. We have performed over 6,000 of them without a single adverse outcome. It’s far less painful than one would think, takes under ten minutes, and causes only mild soreness afterward that lasts only a few days.
ADIPOSE – DERIVED STEM CELLS (ADSC)
PLEASE NOTE – Due to recent developments in the regulatory environment, we are currently phasing out our use of adipose-derived stem cells and plan to totally discontinue its use by December 2021.
Adipose tissue (fat) is rich with adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC).
Fat harvesting for ADSC therapy is done with a very simple process called lipoaspiration. It is important to understand that lipoaspiration is vastly different from liposuction. Liposuction is performed by a plastic surgeon, and up to 6,000mL (6 liters) of fat is removed for a cosmetic result.
In contrast, lipoaspiration uses only a small amount of local anesthetic and a small instrument slightly larger than a hypodermic needle to remove 1/100 of that amount (60mL). The entire process takes around fifteen minutes.
Click here to read an overview article on adipose-derived stem cells.
AMNIOTIC MEMBRANE/AMNIOTIC FLUID
Patients have the option of using an amniotic membrane/fluid product in addition to their own stem cells (without exception, we always use your own stem cells as a foundation). The amniotic membrane is the sac that encases a baby in utero, and the amniotic fluid is the solution that is contained inside. These birth products are donated by mothers at the time of their live births, rather than being discarded, as they would be otherwise. Amniotic membrane and fluid are rich in collagen and hyaluronic acid; the very building blocks of joint surfaces, intervertebral discs, and ligaments. The product we use is manufactured by Kimera Labs and is classified as and qualify as a human tissue allograft (HCT/P) as outlined in 21CFR 1271 under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act. Amniotic membrane/fluid meet the requirements for “Homologous Use” as they are used to cover and protect tissues providing cushioning, lubrication, and support.
The amniotic memebrane products we use at Docere Clinics do NOT contain stem cells, and as such, do not contain genetic material (DNA) from someone else. We offer patients these products in addition to your own stem cells and not as a stand-alone therapy.
Patients have the option of using an exosome product in addition to their own stem cells (without exception, we always use your own stem cells as a foundation). Exosomes are the key growth factors derived from placental mesenchymal stem cells, that have been separated from the stem cells that produced them (hence, without other people’s DNA). Exosomes are the very active ingredient of stem cells that are responsible for their ability to trigger healing in damaged tissue they encounter. As we age, what makes our own stem cells “old” is that they lose the ability to manufacture and excrete these very exosomes. So we take exosomes from very robust, young stem cells, separate them from the other person’s genetic material (DNA), and supplement our own stem cells with them.
The exosome products we use at Docere Clinics do NOT contain stem cells, and as such, do not contain genetic material (DNA) from someone else. We offer patients these products in addition to your own stem cells and not as a stand-alone therapy.
Which Option Is Best For You?
Since 2016, Dr. Adelson has performed almost exclusively "The Kitchen Sink" approach and it truly is what sets him apart, as is demonstrated by his celebrity client list. Based on close follow-up with our patients, "The Kitchen Sink" approach appears to provide the most consistent and powerful results.
Since the onset of COVID-19, many of our patients are experiencing financial hardship. Even for those who are not as affected, at the very best, these are uncertain times. It is for this reason that we have rolled back out the "Bare Bones" approach for those that desire stem cells, but at a more affordable cost.
Please click here to read a manuscript written by Dr. Adelson published in The Pain Practitioner describing his experience comparing bone marrow stem cells, adipose stem cells, and the combination of the two. Clearly, if you have too little subcutaneous fat to consider lipoaspiration, then ADSC is not an option and we will opt instead for BMAC alone. If you have a history of bone or blood cancer, we opt for ADSC suspended in platelet-rich plasma.
Click here to read a manuscript written by Dr. Adelson published in The Pain Practitioner describing his experience treating low back and lumbar disc pain with the combination of ADSC with BMAC.
PLEASE NOTE – we plan to totally discontinue the use of ADSC by November 2020 due to changes in the regulatory environment.
Download a scientific overview of Adult Stem Cell Therapy, written by Arnold Caplan, Ph.D., the scientist who first described mesenchymal stem cell function in 1988.
These podcasts with Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Radio will answer any
remaining questions you may have: