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 November, 2020.
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”.
CONDITIONS WE ARE INVESTIGATING
- Osteoarthritis of any joint
- Back Pain (degenerated/dehydrated discs, stenosis, facet arthrosis, SI syndrome, sciatica, etc)
- Neck Pain
- Headaches (except true hormonal migraines)
- Sports Injuries (tennis elbow, rotator cuff tear, ACL tear, torn meniscus, chronic ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, chronic subluxation/dislocation of shoulder, torn labrum of shoulder or hip, etc)
- Overuse Syndromes (plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, texters/quilters thumb, TMJ syndrome, etc)
- Avascular Necrosis
- Non-union Fracture
CONDITIONS WE DO NOT TREAT
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Systemic disease (neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, autoimmune, etcetera)
2 Sources of Stem Cells / 2 Sources of Growth Factors
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 4,000 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 November, 2020.
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.
Patients have the option of additionally using a Wharton’s Jelly product. Wharton’s Jelly is the insulation layer of the umbilical cord that is rich in collagen and hyaluronic acid; the very building blocks of joint surfaces, intervertebral discs, and ligaments. The product we use is manufactured by Predictive Biotech 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. Wharton’s Jelly meets the requirements for “Homologous Use” as they are used to cover and protect tissues providing cushioning, lubrication, and support. The Predictive Biotech product we use at Docere Clinics is the PolyCyte product, that does NOT contain stem cells, and as such, does not contain genetic material (DNA) from someone else.
Exosomes are the key growth factors derived from placental mesenchymal stem cells, without the stem cells (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. Docere Clinics purchases exosomes from Kimera Labs www.kimeralabs.com
Which Type Is Best For You?
Most patients who undergo treatment at Docere Clinics opt to receive both BMAC and ADSC combined in a single treatment (PLEASE NOTE – we plan to totally discontinue the use of ADSC by November, 2020 due to changes in the regulatory environment). Based on close follow-up with our patients, this appears to provide the most consistent and powerful results. 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.
Patients may or may not wish to additionally include umbilical cord products and/or exosomes with their own BMAC/SVF. Factors affecting this decision is the severity of one’s condition and personal preference.
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.