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Stem Cell Therapy

Dr Soraya Felix explains why she is passionate in this field of medicine:

Principal Stem Cell Physician:

Dr. Soraya Felix Medical Doctor, Chemist, Pharmacologist and Molecular Biologist.

What are Stem Cells?

A stem cell is basically any cell that can replicate and differentiate. This means the cell can not only multiply, it can turn into different types of tissues. There are different kinds of stem cells. Most people are familiar with or have heard the term "embryonic stem cell." These are cells from the embryonic stage that have yet to differentiate – as such, they can change into any body part at all. These are then called "pluri-potential" cells. Because they are taken from unborn or unwanted embryos, there has been considerable controversy surrounding their use. Also, while they have been used in some areas of medicine – particularly, outside the United States – they have also been associated with occasional tumor (teratoma) formations. There is work being conducted by several companies to isolate particular lines of embryonic stem cells for future use.

Another kind of stem cell is the "adult stem cell." This is a stem cell that already resides in one's body within different tissues. In recent times, much work has been done isolating bone-marrow derived stem cells. These are also known as "mesenchymal stem cells" because they come from the mesodermal section of your body. They can differentiate into bone and cartilage, and probably all other mesodermal elements, such as fat, connective tissue, blood vessels, muscle and nerve tissue. Bone marrow stem cells can be extracted and because they are low in numbers, they are usually cultured in order to multiply their numbers for future 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 compared to bone marrow. Today, we actually have tools that allow us to separate the stem cells from fat. 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 and they can be used right away.

Why Stem Cells?

A stem cell is essentially a "blank" cell, capable of becoming another more differentiated cell type in the body, such as a skin cell, a muscle cell, or a nerve cell. Microscopic in size, stem cells are big news in medical and science circles because they can be used to replace or even heal damaged tissues and cells in the body. They can serve as a built-in repair system for the human body, replenishing other cells as long as a person is still alive.

Adult stem cells are a "natural" solution. They naturally exist in our bodies, and they provide a natural repair mechanism for many tissues of our bodies. They belong in the microenvironment of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells belong in the microenvironment of the early embryo, not in an adult body, where they tend to cause tumors and immune system reactions.

Most importantly, adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies for many years. As of this moment, no therapies in humans have ever been successfully carried out using embryonic stem cells. New therapies using adult type stem cells, on the other hand, are being developed all the time.

Procedure (very good video under regenestem / respiratory conditions).

Firstly, we would like to make very clear that there are "no" moral or ethical issues with isolating stem cells from fat or bone marrow. The two sources our technique harvest stem cells from are either from your unwanted fat or directly from your healthy bone marrow.

The procedural process is as follows:

  • Take blood from patient to prepare platelet rich plasma
  • Mini-liposuction for fat harvesting
  • Fat is centrifuged and stem cell extracted
  • Mix stem cells extracted from fat with platelet rich plasma
  • Activate under laser stem cells extracted from fat
  • The cells are then administered back to the patient through one or more of the following modes of administration

Stem Cell Deployment:

Intravenous: Administered through a standard intravenous drip Or Administered directly into a localised area like a joint (knee, shoulder).

Example:

What Disorders are Stem Cells (SVF) used for?

Stem cells are already used for certain blood disorders in Australia. All other use of stem cells or SVF in Australia is considered investigational. Many disorders have investigational protocols. We can group them like this:

Orthopedic problems such as osteoarthritis, post traumatic arthritis and soft tissue injuries.Auto-immune or connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. Neurologic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or stroke. Lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Gastrointestinal disease such as Crohn's disease or auto-immune hepatitis. Cardiacdisease such as congestive heart failure (CHF). Urinary disease such as interstitial cystitis or erectile dysfunction. Eye disease such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy. Dermatologic conditions such as hair loss and lichen sclerosis.

In the near future, new investigational protocols will be added to this list. We will next talk about each of these deployments.

How are stem cells (SVF) used in arthritis?

Orthopedic uses will probably see the most rapid advance of any area over the next few years. A number of high profile individuals such as governors and professional athletes have had effective stem cell deployment in the last year or two. The knee has probably been the most frequently done. Unpublished results show patients who have been recommended to have knee have an 85% reduction in pain and a similar improvement in function. So far, less than 5% have gone on to have knee replacement. It is important to remember that these are early results and will probably change over time, but they are encouraging. Other joints have included:

  • Hip
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Ankel
  • Wrist
  • Fingers
  • Back and Spine
  • Neck

Although encouraging, results are still too early to discuss on these joints. Some of these joints like the knee, hip and elbow can be done in the physician's office using ultrasound or no visualization. Other joints such as the back and neck, are best done at an imaging centre using CT or other techniques to assure the SVF is placed within the joint.

Soft tissue injuries are also seeing rapid expansion of stem cell (SVF) use. Soft tissue refers to things like muscles, ligaments and tendons that do not involve the bone or joint. Soft tissue deployments are being used in:

  • Tendon injuries such as the Achilles tendon.
  • Muscle injuries or tears such as a torn or sprained hamstring.
  • Chronic tendonitis.
  • Overuse injuries.
  • Soft tissue use also is too early along to report. Veterinary work is much more advance in the US due to fewer restrictions in use. The results of use in animals, especially horses, are very encouraging.

How are Stem Cells(SVF) used in auto-immune(connective tissue) disorders?

Auto-immune or connective tissue disorders are an exciting area for the use of stem cells or SVF. Many of these disorders have only a moderate or poor response to traditional treatments. Deployment protocols are available for:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Scleroderma;
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosis;
  • Relapsing polychrondritis;
  • Alopecia areata;
  • Myasthenia Gravis;
  • Fibromyalgia.

Some might classify the last two disorders elsewhere, but we have classified them here for deployment protocols. Results of treatment of these disorders have also been encouraging. Early results suggest that repeat treatments may be required every 6-12 weeks. It has been postulated that this may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the growth factors present in SVF. This area has several types of deployment use. All of them use IV deployment. However, inflamed localized joints can receive joint injections. Localized soft tissue injections can also be done in areas of involved skin, muscular trigger points or scalp.

Patient Journey:

1st Appointment:

Review of medical history, patient history and expectations Blood test for complete assessment Patient to complete a form Procedure is explained, consent form signed

In between consults: patient returns completed form

2nd Appointment:

Blood results will be discussed Review of form Procedure

PROCEDURE: (Video coming soon)
Two patients that have undergone Stem Cell therapy