San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center Frequently Asked Questions

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1 San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center Frequently Asked Questions What is a Stem Cell? A stem cell is basically any cell that can replicate and differentiate. This means the cell can not only multiply, but it can also turn into various tissue types. There are several kinds of stem cells. Most people are most familiar with embryonic stem cells. These cells from the embryonic stage of development are pluripotent because they have yet to differentiate and can change into any body part. Because they are taken from unborn or unwanted embryos, there has been considerable controversy surrounding their use. Furthermore, while they have shown promise in some areas of medicine, they have also been associated with occasional tumor (teratoma) formation. Work is being conducted by several companies, most of them outside the United States, to isolate particular lines of embryonic stem cells for future use. Another kind of stem cells are adult stem cells, which reside in different tissues in the body. In recent years, much work has been done on bone marrow-derived stem cells. Also known as mesenchymal stem cells because they come from the mesodermal areas of the body, they can differentiate into mesodermal cell types such as bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue, blood vessels, muscles and nerves. Because bone marrow stem cells are low in numbers, they are usually cultured after extraction in order to multiply their numbers for therapeutic use. As it turns out, fat is also loaded with mesenchymal stem cells. In fact, it has hundreds if not thousands of times more stem cells than bone marrow and they are easier to exact. Because most people have adequate fat supplies and the numbers of stem cells are so great, there is no need to culture the cells over a period of days. We have tools that allow us to separate the stem cells from fat, so they can be used right away. 1

2 How can adult stem cells heal? Adipose-derived adult stem cells are known as progenitor cells. This means they remain dormant (do nothing) until they are signaled by tissue damage. That s when they get to work. They hone in on areas of injury or degeneration and turn on the healing process. They may simply change into the cell type the damaged area needs for repair, and they also appear to reduce inflammation and signal growth factors and other mechanisms of tissue regeneration. Is the stem cell treatment you are offering FDA approved? No. However, the San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center s procedures fall under the category of physician s practice of medicine, wherein the physician and patient are free to consider their chosen course of treatment. The FDA does have guidelines about treatment and manipulation of a patient s own tissues. The San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center follows these guidelines by providing same-day treatment with the patient s own cells, which undergo minimal manipulation and are redeployed during the same procedure. Does the San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center use embryonic stem cells? No. Only adult mesenchymal adipose-derived stem cells are used. These cells are capable of forming bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, ligaments, blood vessels, and certain other cell types. Embryonic stem cells are associated with ethical considerations and limitations. What is a non-embryonic adult stem cell? Adult (non-embryonic) mesenchymal stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to replace dying cells and regenerate damaged tissue. These special cells seek out areas of injury, disease, and destruction. Once there, they are capable of regenerating healthy cells and accelerating the natural healing process. As we gain a deeper understanding of adult stem cells function and apply this knowledge, we are realizing their enormous therapeutic potential to help the body heal itself. Adult stem 2

3 cells have been used for a variety of medical conditions to repair and regenerate acute and chronically damaged tissues in humans and animals. The use of stem cells is not FDA approved for the treatment of any specific disease in the United States at this time, and their use is therefore investigational. Many reputable international centers have been using stem cell therapy to treat various chronic degenerative conditions as diverse as severe neurological diseases, renal failure, erectile dysfunction, degenerative orthopedic problems, and cardiac and pulmonary diseases, to name a few. Adult stem cells appear to be particularly effective at repairing cartilage in degenerated joints. What is regenerative medicine? Regenerative Medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to damage, degeneration, or congenital defects. This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves. What is PRP? Platelet-rich plasma (Abbreviation: PRP) is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains (and releases through degranulation) several different growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue.why do patients request stem cell treatment? Many have been told that they require surgery or other risky treatments for their ailments and are looking for non-invasive options. Some have seen the compelling testimonials about stem cells in the literature and on various websites. Many have read about the results of stem cell treatments in animal models and in humans. The San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center gives a choice to informed patients who seek modern regenerative therapy but desire convenience, quality, and affordability. The San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center fills a need for those patients who have been told they would have to travel to different countries and pay as much as $21,000 to $100,000 for stem cell treatments offshore. 3

4 Once a candidate is selected for treatment, how does the San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center obtain a person s stem cells? Stem cells are harvested and deployed during the same procedure, which takes less than three hours. Our patients first undergo a minimally invasive liposuction type of harvesting procedure by a board-certified cosmetic surgeon in our specialized, fully accredited treatment facility in San Diego, California. The harvesting procedure generally lasts about 20 minutes and can be done under local anesthesia. Cells are then processed and are ready for deployment within 90 minutes or less. At that time, they are returned to the patient s body via injection and/or intravenous infusion. Why does the San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center use patients own fat rather than bone marrow as a source of stem cells? Removing stem cells from bone marrow is a somewhat uncomfortable procedure that yields approximately 5,000 60,000 cells. These cells are then cultured over several days to increase their numbers to perhaps a few million prior to deployment (injection or IV) into the patient. Recent advances in stem cell science have made it possible to obtain high numbers of very high quality pluripotent cells (able to form into numerous cell types) from a person s own fat, which is removed by liposuction. The San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center uses technology acquired from Asia to process this fat, which yields million stem cells. Therefore, it is possible to obtain and deploy several million cells in a single treatment. These-adipose derived stem cells can form many different types of cells when deployed properly, including bone, cartilage, connective tissue, muscle, blood vessels, nerves, and others. Is there an advantage to using stem cells from fat versus bone marrow? Whether your adult mesenchymal stem cells come from bone marrow or from fat probably does not make a difference in terms of clinical results. Although some centers claim that bone marrow-derived cells are superior to fat-derived cells, there is no evidence to substantiate that. The fact that there are many more studies on bone marrow cells does not prove clinical superiority but merely supports the obvious fact that fat-derived cells are based on more recent discoveries, and although evidence is 4

5 accumulating, there are far fewer studies using these cells. It is important understand that although bone marrow may suggest that this source is superior for treating orthopedic conditions such as cartilage degeneration, this is not the case. All types of adult mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to differentiate into various mature functional tissues. For many conditions, including cardiovascular disorders, adipose-derived cells appear to be superior to bone marrow-derived cells. This may be related to the well-documented decline in quantity and quality of bone marrow-derived stem cell, related to age and chronic illness. Such changes in number and viability have not been seen in fat-derived stem cells. How many treatments are required? Most patients, especially those with orthopedic conditions, require only one treatment. Certain types of degenerative conditions, particularly autoimmune disorders, may respond best to a series of stem cell deployments. The number and necessity of any additional treatments would be decided on a case-by-case basis. Financial consideration is given in these instances. Can extra stem cells be saved for future use should an immediate need arise? Stem cells can be cryopreserved in the form of liposuction fat for prolonged periods of time. Currently, we are in the process of setting up this service, which will be outsourced to a company with a great reputation for excellent quality control. Many patients have been inquiring about banking cells while they are still young, since stem cell numbers drop naturally with each decade of life and some advocate obtaining and saving cells to be used later as needed. Patients who are considered to be candidates based on information provided in the candidate application form and discussions with our Patient Services Representatives will be invited for a physician consultation. A $250 fee is charged for this consultation, which includes office evaluation and/or physician review of X-rays, medical records, and telephone consultations. The San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center will apply this fee toward the cost of the procedure if you decide to proceed. 5

6 Unfortunately, insurance generally will not cover the actual cost of stem cell treatment since it is still considered experimental. A standard treatment fee for musculoskeletal conditions is $8,000. The fee covers fat cell harvesting, cell preparation, PRP and stem cell deployment for up to two joints in one outpatient procedure. Because of recent innovations in technology, the San Diego Stem Cell Treatment Center is able to provide outpatient stem cell treatment at a fraction of the cost of that seen in many overseas clinics. Our office accepts all major credit cards and financing may be available. In addition, you may be able to use your HSA and/or FSA. Please check with your provider. COPYRIGHT 2015, CALIFORNIA STEM CELL TREATMENT CENTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 6

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