Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Therapy

Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Therapy

The latest buzz word in medicine seems to be stem cells. So I googled stem cells and boy was I confused. There are stem cells from aborted fetuses. They are used more in Europe and Mexico and other areas outside of the U.S. Many people would have an ethical issue with their use. I am one of them.

You could take your own fat tissue, bone marrow, or blood and get stem cells. However, this is a surgical procedure and cost could range from $5,000 to $40,000. Also, you may not be able to learn how many stem cells from your fat tissue or bone marrow are actually injected into your body. The good part is the stem cells are your own so you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions. The bad information is that at birth you have 1 stem cell for every 10,000 cells; at 16 you have 1 stem cell for every 100,000 cells; and at 60 you have 1 stem cell for every 2-3 million cells. So, the younger you are the more likely to have a good outcome.

Another option is to try placental cell stem cells. Placental stem cells per milliliter range from 1,000 to 3,000 stem cells per mL. You will need a lot of fluid. Amniotic fluid has stem cells but the government has not given a number of stem cells per mL because of so much debris in the amniotic fluid (i.e. water, stem cells, urine and other body waste). There is a fair amount of tissue growth factor which is good for healing.

Human umbilical cord stem cells are the result of a healthy mother giving birth to a healthy baby and the family does not wish to store the baby’s cord blood. Instead of being thrown away, one can take the stem cells in the cord and use them for joint problems, or any number of pathological problems (for example: dementia, chronic fatigue, auto immune conditions, brain injuries, Parkinson’s, and Leukemia. Overseas they are using the cells for spinal cord injury. These stem cells are screened by the tissue banks for disease before they are released for use. Umbilical cord Stem Cells can grow any tissue in the body and will not cause any allergic reactions. The number of stem cells in cord blood range from 1.5 to 4.5 million stem cells per mL. You can culture then up and buy up to 5-60 million cells per mL which I find works well in any brain injury.

I play a lot of tennis so I was really down when my left knee went out on me. I tried a number of treatments including laser therapy and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection therapy. They helped, but the going was slow. I heard about umbilical cord stem cells; the stem cells are taken from umbilical cords of babies whose mother does not want to have the blood for possible medical use later in life. There are no fetuses involved and because the stem cells are from the other side of the placenta there is no DNA involved. No worries about passing along any genetic defects. I have had a number of my patients try adult stem cells and there success rate was so/so. As I have learned, the older a patient is, the fewer stem cells they have. So using their own bone marrow may not always provide enough stem cells. There is 1 stem cell per 10,000 cells in cord blood at birth. At 17 years of age there is 1 stem cell for 100,000 cells and at 65 there is 1 cell for 2 million cells.

A MRI showed that I had 3 large meniscal tears and arthritis in my knee. The so called ‘normal’ treatment would be orthoscopic surgery on the knee to take care of the arthritis and trim the meniscal tears so they would not cause my knee to catch. Of course, 10 years later I could then have a knee replacement.

I placed umbilical stem cells in my knee and 90 days later the tears in the meniscus were healed and the pain is 95% gone. In fact, I played tennis the other day and my opponent said, “I have been playing you for 5 years and you are faster now than when we last played tennis.”

The patients with back problems are very happy. The spine patients have returned for follow ups and here is what they are saying. “I had 4 herniated discs in my neck, 1 in my mid back and 2 discs out in my lower back. Before I could only work 2 days and would have to take a day off because of the pain and headaches. No one would do surgery on me because I was too young. Now, no complaints, the pain is gone, the headaches are gone and I am so, so happy.”

Another lady who had severe arthritis in her spine and had not worked in years received the umbilical cord stem cells and after several years of not being able to work; she is now back at work with no pain!

Stem cells are truly becoming the one option available when all else fails. Check out umbilical cord stem cell therapy, it may be right for you!

John D. Young, MD