From a Scientist’s perspective, the response to that question is, yes, but understanding the underlying science and how the therapy operates is vital. In all tissues of the human body, stem cells are present and we actively use them, every minute of the day, to promote a regenerative (healing and building) process in our tissues. Many tissues like bone marrow, synovial tissues, blood, skin, and fat are a source of these cells and can be used to harvest stem cells or as we call them at our Regenesiss Clinic- Mesenchymal Stromal Regenerative Cells.
It doesn’t matter, where the cells are extracted from because adult stem cells can be divided into subclasses of cells including skin, cartilage, bone, and muscle. If a regenerative practitioner is concerned about the quality and yield of the extracted stem cells that’s when the source of these extracted stem cells counts. The larger the quantity harvested, the more effective the regenerative response within those cells. In adults, adipose tissue (fat) from either abdomen or thighs, contains the largest concentrations of the stem cells. In fact, 50 times more stem cells are contained in your fat than in your bone marrow per gram of tissue. Furthermore, the amount and viability of your bone marrow cells declines steadily with age. Hence at our clinic, we have moved away from using bone marrow as a source. Adipose tissue has considerably greater cell density than bone marrow and doesn’t decline with age. We choose using adipose tissue (fat) from your abdomen or thigh as a source for these regenerative cells.
You probably must be wondering, why do regenerative practitioners use adult regenerative fat cells, not embryonic cells as a source?
The embryonic cells pose a great moral and ethical challenge. Another issue when these embryonic cells are used (as they are not from the recipient’s own body), is that there is a chance of these cells accumulating in clusters with rapid replications forming tissues that are not required.
The FDA has suggested that adipose-derived stem cell therapy is considered as a “medical practice,” as far as the cells are extracted from the recipient (making it autologous) and re-injected with little to no cell manipulation and enhancement into the patient during the same environment. That is exactly what we at Regenesiss clinic perform with utmost care and accuracy. We ensure that the treatment is well within the FDA guidelines.
The next important point to discuss is effectiveness. Are we sure that this therapy is effective for joint osteoarthritis? Currently, there are about 60 open-ended or completed research studies by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) using arthritis Adipose Stem Cells (ADSCs). For ADSC, just approximately six studies are for knee osteoarthritis. Other ADSC trials in CHF, COPD, erectile dysfunction; diabetes; and ischemic extremities have also had promising outcomes without any directly associated adverse treatment. Other trials have also been performed for CHF (congestive heart failure).
Promising Study results:
- A S.Korean team headed by Yong-Gon Koh and his colleagues published an article entitled: “Clinical results and second-look arthroscopic findings after treatment with adipose-derived stem cells for knee osteoarthritis” in Journal of Knee Surgery, Sports, Traumatology and Arthroscopy, December 2013 issue. Thirty elderly patients, with knee arthritis, have been treated and monitored closely by Dr. Koh for 2 years with the same ADSC protocol. He also looked at the knee cartilage of these16 patients for a second time by arthroscopy. The following were the results he published: “Almost all patients showed significant improvement in all clinical outcomes at the final follow-up examination. All clinical results significantly improved at a 2-year follow-up compared to 12-month follow-up Among elderly patients aged (65 years, only five patients demonstrated worsening of Kellgren–Lawrence grade. On second-look arthroscopy, 87.5 % of elderly patients (14 out of 16 patients) improved or maintained cartilage status at least 2 years postoperatively. Moreover, none of the patients underwent total knee arthroplasty during this 2-year period.” This implies that virtually all participants in the studies had reduced knee pain and improved physical function over a span of 2 years and were sufficiently good. Best of all, no patients had to undergo a total knee replacement.