Stemcelldoc's Weblog

February 23, 2009

Administration of Stem Cells

Patients are becoming increasingly aware of the use of adult stem cells in the treatment of various disorders.  In a previous blog I have outlined the critical differences between allogenic adult stem cells and autologous stem cells where the former is associated  with a risk of disease transmission.

Another key issue to consider is the route of administration.  Some companies outside the United States are currently offering the intravenous delivery of adult stem cells for regenerative tissue therapy.

IV Infusion

IV Infusion

 How effective are these therapies?  Unfortunately,  Fischer et. al.  demonstrated that the majority of the administered stems cells failed to make to their targeted destination because they were trapped in the lung.  This is similar to the first-pass effect seen in drug delivery systems where a disproportionate amount of a drug is trapped as it passes through the liver.

A reliable stem cell delivery system is essential to the success of the stem cell therapy.  If you have a knee problem, for example,  you want the autologous stem cells injected directly into the area of damage.  At Regenexx, autologous mesenchymal stem cells are injected under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance to ensure accurate placement. 

Fluoroscopic assisted injection

Fluoroscopic assisted injection

 Regenexx enables a patient the opportunity to use their own stem cells to repair damaged tendons, ligaments and damaged cartilage surfaces via a needle-in, needle -out procedure, which  eliminates the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia.

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February 18, 2009

Adult Stem Cells

Stem cell therapy and its applications continue to expand on a daily basis.  The use of your own  stem cells is termed autologous.  The use of someone else’s stem cells is termed allogenic.  Animal studies demonstrate a significant problem when utilizing allogenic therapy: the transmission of genetic diseases.

Ueda et. al.,  demonstrated that is was possible to give osteoporosis to a normal young mouse by implanting them with stem cells from an old mouse with osteoporosis.  This is very concerning and warrants caution when considering the use of allogenic stem cell therapy.  Until we understand all the complexities of genes, injecting stem cells and their inherent genes from one patient into another is a significant risk.

Regenexx utilizes a patients own stem cells and therefore there is no risk of transmission of disease.  Regenexx has demonstrated clinical successes in the treatment of lumbar disc bulges, tendon and ligament tears and healing of fractured bones.

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February 15, 2009

Stem Cell Accountability

Human nature being what it is, there has been an unfortunate increase in the number stem cell therapies which are available and proclaim success  for a large number of disorders.  This has occurred domestically as well as internationally with hybrids  which recruit the patients here in the Unites States only to ship off the cells overseas.

In response, the International Society Stem Cell Researchers (ISSCR) has created a comprehensive set of guidelines for  stem cell therapy.  Patients and their physicians must be aware of these guidelines.  I will summarize two of the guidelines and comment how Regenexx has addressed the standard.

1)  Stem cells from other people (allogenic) are more risky and require closer monitoring.  Research would suggest that stem cells from a donor  may carry a  genetic disease transmission risk.  What does this mean?  Stem cells from one patient when used in another patient may transmit serious diseases.  In the animal model for example when a young mouse is injected with stem cells from a mouse with known osteoporosis, the younger mouse develops osteoporosis.   Regenexx acknowledges this significant risk and therefore only uses a patients own stem cells.  These  cells are referred to as autologous.

2)The use of animal components to grow stem cells must by replaced human components.  Stem cells are commonly cultured in Fetal Calf Serum (FCS).  There are multiple concerns with this practice including transmission  of infectious processes such as mad cow disease.  Fetal Calf Serum is not appropriate for human use.  Regenexx uses  a patient’s own blood to grown and expand their stem cells.  Regenexx has not and never will use fetal calf serum.

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