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Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

The Real Problem with Bone Marrow Stem Cell Therapy

There’s a lot written online these days about stem cell therapy using one’s own bone marrow. Some providers will say “you should only have your own bone marrow used, bone marrow is better for regenerative medicine,” etc. This is concerning as it’s mostly NOT a good idea.

When you really look at using one’s own bone marrow, there are TWO GLARING PROBLEMS that should be taken into consideration. The first issue simply comes

Young athletes are great bone marrow stem cell candidates

down to pure math. When a person is in his or her 20s or 30s, the amount of regenerative cells available is plentiful. For instance, when an athlete is considering undergoing a regenerative procedure, bone marrow may be an excellent option. For an individual in his or her 30’s with a post traumatic cartilage defect, it also makes sense to consider bone marrow procedures.

However, once a person reaches the age of 50, undergoing a bone marrow procedure is mathematically NOT a good idea. Studies have shown that the amount of stem cells available in one’s bone marrow drops exponentially as we age.

Specifically, by the age of 50, that amount drops by about 90%. By the age of 70, it drops by over 95%. In addition, researchers at Case Western have shown the stem cells that are still present do not function as well as those when a person is younger. Basically, stem cells in older individuals get LAZY.

Studies in the past have also shown a significant problem with what is obtained even under the best of circumstances with a bone marrow aspiration. With current techniques, the needle is placed into the iliac crest of the pelvis. Approximately 60 mL of bone marrow is aspirated for use.

What exactly is in that bone marrow?

That question has been answered by studies looking at the composition. The first 2 mL contains a decent amount of stem cells. Unfortunately, the rest of the 60 mL mostly consists of blood. This has very few stem cells and not very many regenerative cells either.

So in addition to age becoming a mathematical liability for the amount of cells we have available, the current techniques for aspiration hurt the situation even more.
The combination of the mathematical decay of the amount of stem cells we have available with aging, the decrease in function of what stem cells remain, and the current technical deficiencies with aspiration all add up to a sub-optimal regenerative procedure using one’s own bone marrow.

Complications with the Aspiration

And if that wasn’t enough to discourage people from undergoing a bone marrow procedure, consider the potential complications of the iliac crest aspiration. On average, studies show a 35% incidence of chronic pain from the aspiration. This means a person may have pain that last well over six months afterwards.

In addition, there have been reports of pelvic fractures, vascular injury, nerve injury and even a bowel perforation can occur. Imagine going in for a simple bone marrow stem cell procedure and ending up needing a blood transfusion and a bowel repair!

For the younger population, bone marrow should still be in the conversation. However, we simply have much better options available today for regenerative procedures. Umbilical cord and amniotic stem cell treatments have been shown in many peer reviewed studies to be safe and very effective for many conditions.

In over 10,000 cases performed over five years, R3’s Centers of Excellence have not experienced any disease transmission, deep infection, no rejection, and of course no chronic pain as no aspiration is necessary.

With umbilical cord tissue and amniotic fluid being obtained ethically and in accordance with FDA regulations, why risk any of the complications and poor cell numbers associated with a bone marrow procedure?

R3 Stem Cell offers effective regenerative procedures at over 30 Centers of Excellence nationwide. We also have a Concierge center in Las Vegas, where patients from around the country and internationally come for first-rate treatments.

Initial consultations, whether in person or over the phone, are offered complimentary along with an imaging review. Call us today at (844) GET-STEM and we will locate a provider close to you!

Does Stem Cell Therapy Work with Bone on Bone Arthritis?

One of the main questions we receive from individuals considering regenerative therapy for an arthritic joint is “Will the stem cell therapy work if I have bone on bone arthritis?” Interstingly, the answer is yes!

We didn’t always think it would help. When R3 first started over five years ago, we told providers it probably wouldn’t work. Thankfully, we were wrong! The outcomes proved to be exceptional over 80% of the time.

As the past five years have gone by and patient after patient has gotten dramatically better from the treatment, we have learned what is most likely happening with the joint treatment.

How Arthritis Occurs

 

Throughout life, people make cartilage at the same rate. It doesn’t matter whether a person is twenty or eighty, cartilage formation occurs consistently. The issue concerns the rate of cartilage loss. Unfortunately, with age comes an increased rate of cartilage loss. So the ratio of formation to loss turns into a mismatch.

This leads to an overall loss and degenerative arthritis. What’s being accomplished with a regenerative procedure (e.g. umbilical cord stem cell therapy), is putting the ratio back into the patient’s favor. It is NOT a cure or a complete fix, anyone who says that is not being realistic.

With the ratio being put back into the patient’s favor, cartilage formation can accumulate in a joint. Often times, noticeable joint improvement will occur on x-rays over time. It does not need to be a ton, simply a couple millimeters will usually be enough to create tremendous relief for patients.

How long will the relief last from a regenerative injection?

 

This is variable, and there is no set time frame. We have seen patients treated five years ago doing fantastic, while others may need a repeat treatment after a couple years. A person may not need another stem cell treatment, but may just benefit from a PRP treatment. The relief usually starts within the first month, and continues to improve for over six months.

There is no age limit to the treatment. R3’s Centers have seen patients upwards of age 102. The desire may simply be to walk farther, play more with the grandkids or play golf more often. Thankfully, the treatments are extremely safe in addition to being effective over 80% of the time.

How is Amniotic and Umbilical Cord Tissue Regulated?

 

Amniotic and umbilical cord tissue is strictly FDA regulated. During processing, any DNA factors are removed so it does not lead to rejection. The best labs, such as the ones R3 works with, ensure very high cell viability by not using radiation and only minimal preservative. This is one reason the outcomes at our Centers has been so amazing.

With the outcomes being so exceptional, over 95% of patients considering treatment at R3 now ask for amniotic and umbilical cord tissue treatment. Along with the outcomes, there is no need for harvesting so the potential for chronic donor site pain is avoided. When a bone marrow or adipose procedure is undergone, the potential for chronic donor site pain is over 30%, and with each year that goes by the regenerative cell counts in the human body decreases considerably.

 

R3 Stem Cell has over thirty Centers of Excellence nationwide. All of them offer a free consultation, and the providers are first rate. Call today to set up your visit to R3, where Regenerative Medicine is Made Easy!

FAQs on Stem Cell Regenerative Therapies in Phoenix and Scottsdale

This is a guest blog post from Dr. Monte Hessler, whose location is an R3 Stem Cell Center of Excellence in Phoenix AZ. Dr. Hessler works with the Phoenix Suns, San Francisco Giants, PGA Tour and many other professional and amateur athletes on the latest medical technologies such as stem cell therapy in Phoenix and Scottsdale AZ.

Regenerative medicine refers to therapies that are able to repair, restore and regenerate damaged tissues in the body. These treatments represent a significant advancement from traditional ones that only offer symptom relief as a proverbial “band-aid”. Regenerative procedures come in two forms. Those that require a biologic harvest from the patient (bone marrow or adipose tissue), or those that come from an external source (e.g. PRP Therapy, amniotic fluid/membrane, and umbilical cord blood/tissue).

There are significant myths and misinformation that have been propagated regarding the external source regenerative biologics. A lot of these myths are disseminated by industry competitors who have presented biased and manipulated data to confuse prospective patients.

Known as the “products of conception”, the regenerative materials from amniotic and umbilical tissue include the following: • Amniotic Fluid • Placental membrane • Umbilical Cord Tissue • Umbilical Cord Blood • Wharton’s Jelly

Research performed on the products of conception have shown several benefits to what the materials contain including: • High numbers of Stem Cells • Concentrations of Growth Factors • High numbers of Cytokines • Additional elements including exosomes, microsomes, secretomes, mRNA. The best analogy applicable is that the products of conception produce regenerative materials that contain a full “orchestra” of components to treat patients!

How are they acquired? The amniotic and umbilical cord tissues are obtained from healthy, consenting donors who are under the age of 35 and undergoing a scheduled c-section. The FDA strictly regulates the process of how these tissues are acquired, tested, processed and stored to ensure the highest level of patient safety. During a normal, scheduled c-section, the products of conception are normally discarded. This includes the amniotic fluid, placenta, umbilical cord and accompanying materials. In this case, the products of conception are donated by the mother, with the baby being fine. The materials are placed in a sterile container and taken to the nearby FDA registered, certified laboratory right away.

What conditions benefit from their use? In the research literature there are benefits being shown for: • Arthritis: All Types • Soft Tissue Conditions: Tendonitis, Bursitis, Ligament Injury (e.g. Achilles, Knee, Rotator Cuff) • Sports Injuries • Neurologic Conditions: • Trigeminal Neuralgia • Migraines and Cluster Headaches • Post Herpetic Neuralgia • RSD • Neuropathy • Pelvic Pain • Back Pain • Diabetes• Lyme Disease • Plantar Fasciitis • SI Joint Pain • Tennis/Golfers Elbow • Fibromyalgia •

The list of conditions that benefit from amniotic/umbilical procedures is extensive and continues to grow. With the way these biologics are regulated by the FDA, they may be used for conditions where physicians deem them to be safe and clinically useful. Our disclaimer is consistent: No treatments mentioned here have been evaluated by the FDA. As with any medical treatment, R3 Stem Cell does not guarantee any particular outcome. No treatment protocol or specific biologic indication has been evaluated or approved by the FDA.

What is the difference between stem cell injections and PRP Therapy? PRP stands for platelet rich plasma and involves a simple blood draw from the patient. This blood is placed into a kit and spun quickly for 10-15 minutes in a centrifuge machine. What this does is separate the blood into several layers. The middle layer is termed the “buffy coat” and contains concentrated platelets, white blood cells, and 8-12 growth factors. There are minimal stem cells in PRP, if any. It is a very helpful regenerative biologic but not a stem cell therapy.

Amniotic and umbilical materials are very consistent. When the processing occurs at first rate labs certified by the FDA, the amount of cells are very high and extremely consistent. Unlike adipose and bone marrow, where the cell counts drop big time with aging and the quality of those cells diminishes as well.  One thing that should be noted is the MYTH that there are no live cells in processed amniotic fluid. The FDA does not require the material to be radiated, and if a low amount of preservative is used the cells survive the processing. In addition, cryopreservation does not kill cells. (If it did, egg donor programs would go out of business.) So labs that don’t radiate and use minimal preservative get plenty of live cells!  There are too many studies to count looking at the effectiveness of amniotic/umbilical tissue to treat musculoskeletal conditions.

Are all amniotic and umbilical cord products the same? The short answer is no. While the actual biologic material from the donor is extremely similar, the processing can vary. All donors are heavily screened for diseases and are under the age of 35. The DNA factors are removed to prevent rejection, making the biologic material immunologically privileged. The main differences occur when the material is processed at the FDA Certified lab. While the FDA is strict about how the materials are processed, there are some significant differences that can take place. For instance, some labs will radiate the biologic which essentially kills all the cells. Others will use a LOT of preservative which will kill all the cells instead of preserving them.

Suffice it to say that not all of these products are the same once processing is complete. So it is critical to receive treatment from an expert provider who is using a quality product. R3 Stem Cell has vetted the materials used extensively, which is just one reason why over 10,000 patients have safely received treatment over the past six years.

Why are regenerative procedures with R3 products so popular?  For starters, we don’t harvest from adipose tissue (fat) or bone marrow. Bone marrow derived stem cell procedures require an aspiration from the patient’s iliac crest (pelvis). Studies have shown a 29% incidence of chronic pain from the aspiration procedure along with potential for additional complications such as nerve/vessel injury, bowel perforation, fracture.  

In addition, as one ages the quantity and quality of stem cells obtainable from the bone marrow drops exponentially. It is illegal in the US to culture one’s bone marrow to amplify cell counts.  At birth, 1 in 10,000 cells in one’s bone marrow is a stem cell. This drops to 1 in 2 million by age 70. No matter how much one’s bone marrow is concentrated, the cell counts are a problem.

Adipose derived stem cell procedures require a mini-liposuction from the abdomen or buttock. The first problem with this is that plenty of patients simply do NOT have significant adipose tissue to spare.  The second problem with adipose procedures is interesting. Adipose tissue contains VERY HIGH numbers of stem cells. However, once the adipose is processed and moved to your area of treatment, over 80% of them die within two days. So they do not even get a chance to help!

Studies have shown that bone marrow aspiration procedures have a high incidence of complications. Twenty nine percent of patients end up with chronic pain, which is a real problem when the objective is to actually rid patients of pain. Can you imagine that conversation, “Hey doc my knee feels awesome but “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY HIP?!”

How exactly do these materials work? The father of modern stem cell therapy is Dr. Arnold Caplan, a researcher at Case

Dr. Arnold Caplan, PhD

Dr. Arnold Caplan, PhD

Western Reserve University. His extensive work has shown that the regenerative materials used are predominantly acting as signals to one’s body, telling the body to “get to work” and repair itself. He actually recommends changing the abbreviation of MSC’s, which normally stands for Mesenchymal Stem Cells, to Medicinal Signaling Cells.

The goal is to “more accurately reflect the fact that these cells home in on sites of injury or disease and secrete bioactive factors that are immunomodulatory and trophic (regenerative) meaning that these cells make therapeutic drugs in situ that are medicinal.” He continues, “It is, indeed, the patient’s own site-specific and tissue-specific resident stem cells that construct the new tissue as stimulated by the bioactive factors secreted by the exogenously supplied MSCs.”

Having healthy cells is not a passive process. Active, regular tuning-up of our cells is not only feasible, but also necessary to slow aging and reduce the risk of cell dysfunction. We are, after all, only as healthy as our cells. Imperceptible cell dysfunction that is not corrected early can lead to disease. Fine-tuning can be done daily in only minutes, using pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). In addition, when there is a known imbalance (when symptoms are present) or there is a known disease or condition, PEMF treatments, used either alone or along with other therapies, can often help cells rebalance dysfunction faster.

Dr. Hessler utilizes Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy to facilitate the regenerative therapy’s effectiveness. PEMF is very helpful, how does it work?

What is PEMF?

Just like a battery, the human body is electric. Our cells carry voltage. The electric charges necessary to maintain optimum health in our cells can decline from age, injuries and illness. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) helps to restore this healthy electrical balance within the body.

PEMFs work to:
· Reduce pain, inflammation, the effects of stress on the body, and platelet adhesion.
· Improve energy, circulation, blood and tissue oxygenation, sleep quality, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the uptake of nutrients, cellular detoxification and the ability to regenerate cells.
· Balance the immune system and stimulate RNA and DNA.
· Accelerate repair of bone and soft tissue.
· Relax muscles.

Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is FDA-approved to fuse bones and has been cleared in certain devices to reduce swelling and joint pain. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) work on the same physics.

This therapy has been used to treat pain and edema in soft tissue for over 60 years. The technology stemmed from radio frequency (RF) diathermy, which utilized a continuous electromagnetic field to produce heat in soft tissue.

A moving – or resonating – magnetic field can create currents without heating and thus directly alter cellular signaling. It has been firmly established that tissues including blood, muscle, ligaments, bone and cartilage respond to biophysical input, including electrical and electromagnetic fields. New studies show that with the proper field intensity and frequency, treatment with PEMF appears to be disease-modifying. The stimulation provided by PEMF treatments favorably affects cartilage homeostasis.

What sets us apart? In our office we follow up stem cell injections with applications of PEMF.  The thought is that if we are

Dr. Monte Hessler

Dr. Monte Hessler

regenerating tissue, lets charge the treated area with PEMF to create the healthiest tissue possible.

Monte Hessler, DC, CCSP

As a longstanding medical “pillar” in Phoenix, Dr. Hessler has been a provider to many professional and amateur athletes. He works closely with his medically integrated team, and is excited about the outcomes being seen with regenerative therapies. Call us today at (480) 466-0980 for a free consultation and visit his website HERE!

R3 Stem Cell works nationwide with the top regenerative providers at over 30 Centers of Excellence. Over 10,000 patients have been successfully treated, with patient satisfaction exceeding 95%. For the best treatment for you and your loved ones, opt for the Network that has the experience, expertise and patient compassion expected. Call us now.

 

Amniotic Stem Cell Therapy – Is it The Real Deal?

There has been so much speculation about amniotic stem cell therapy and whether it’s Hope or Hype. The unfortunate twist to the dilemma has been that several companies and providers of competing stem cell therapies have been quick to write articles that are negative about amniotic. While amniotic does have its issues, the interesting fact is that these companies are losing patients in droves as more and more consumers opt to undergo amniotic stem cell procedures.

Here’s some very interesting information. Amniotic and placental tissue has a plethora of regenerative cells, which offer much better quality and quantity than the average person’s bone marrow can. Especially after the age of 50, where stem cell counts drop exponentially and they are less effective at doing their job. Competitors say that amniotic tissue “has no live cells.” For most products, this is actually true. The manufacturer will often radiate the product, which kills all the cells. Or they use too much preservative, which also kills all the cells. But the FDA does not mandate radiation, it doesn’t have to be done during processing.

What’s interesting is that when competitors have “tested” these products, they only look at products that are known to be radiated, and are known not to have any live cells to begin with. Amniotic products, though, do not have to be radiated. If competitors ACTUALLY tested a broad slate of amniotic products, what they would have seen is that there are PLENTY of live cells in plenty of products.

R3 Stem Cell only works with amniotic stem cell products that are not radiated. Outcomes have been amazing, with over 80% of patients experiencing dramatic improvements in their condition. There are simply so many elements in properly processed amniotic fluid that represent an “orchestra” of regenerative elements such as:

  • Cytokines
  • Growth Factors
  • Stem Cells
  • Exosomes
  • Secretomes
  • MicroRNA

As one ages, the amount of these cells in someone’s bone marrow drops precipitously. So over the age of 50, it really does NOT make sense to undergo a bone marrow procedure! Here is an explanation of those numbers.

 

It’s not feasible to give up ALL your bone marrow just for the sake of a procedure. No matter how many times you spin the fluid to try and concentrate the cells, there’s just not enough to work with. In addition, studies have shown that aspirating bone marrow with a typical “fat” needle only yields an adequate number of stem cells for the initial 2cc’s obtained.

Since only the initial 2cc’s of any bone marrow aspiration has many stem cells in it, then providers  should  perform MANY separate passes to obtain anywhere close to a semblance of proper concentration. But this turns into a veritable “Swiss cheese” approach, which is very painful afterwards. Eighty six percent of patients experience significant pain right away. Studies looking at bone marrow aspirations with only one pass have shown a chronic pain incidence of 29% (Fernhough et al.). Think about instituting a procedure with multiple passes?? That just increases the incidence of chronic pain significantly.

When it comes down to it, there is an issue with achieving high enough cell counts versus a very high incidence of chronic pain. There are other potential complications such as nerve and arterial injury, fracture, peritoneal perforation, sacroiliac joint instability, and herniation of abdominal contents through defects in the ilium (Banwhart et al, Spine 1995).

Why risk any of this when there are amniotic and umbilical stem cell therapy options available? All of these complications are avoided with no rejection occurring. Simply call R3 Stem Cell today at (844) GET-STEM so that we can get you scheduled for a free consultation at the closest Center of Excellence to you!

 

In order to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding amniotic and umbilical cord stem cell therapy, R3 has put together a Consumer Guide. Unlike competitor publications, this Guide ACTUALLY elucidates accurate information on these materials as opposed to the significant complications associated with a bone marrow aspiration. The Guide is available at no charge to individuals by simply clicking HERE or the image below.

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