How do Stem Cells function?
Stem cells have the capacity to migrate to injured tissues, a phenomenon called homing. This occurs by injury or disease signals that are released from the distressed cells and tissue. Once stem cells arrive, they dock on adjacent cells to commence performing their job to repair the problem.
Stem cells serve as a cell replacement where they change into the required cell type such as a muscle cell, bone or cartilage. This is ideal for traumatic injuries and many orthopedic indications.
They do not express specific human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) which help them avoid the immune system. Stem cells dock on adjacent cells and release proteins called growth factors, cytokines and chemokines. These factors help control many aspects of the healing and repair process systemically.
Stem cells control the immune system and regulate inflammation which is a key mediator of disease, aging, and is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
They help to increase new blood vessel formation so that tissues receive proper blood flow and the correct nutrients needed to heal as in stroke, peripheral artery disease and heart disease.
Stem cells provide trophic support for surrounding tissues and help host endogenous repair. This works well when used for orthopedics. In case of diabetes, it may help the remaining beta cells in the pancreas to reproduce or function optimally.
As CSN research evolves, the field of regenerative medicine and stem cells offers the greatest hope for those suffering from degenerative diseases, conditions for which there is currently no effective treatment or conditions that have failed conventional medical therapy.
ABOUT STEM CELL TREATMENT
Stem cell treatment is a complex process allowing us to harvest the body’s own repair mechanism to fight against degeneration, inflammation and general tissue damage. Stem cells are cells that can differentiate into other types of tissue to restore function and reduce pain.
Adult stem cells are found in abundance in adipose (fat) tissue, where more than 5 million stem cells reside in every gram. These stem cells are called adult mesenchymal stem cells.
Our medical doctors extract stromal vascular fraction (SVF) from your own body to provide treatment using your very own cells. This process is called autologous mesenchymal stem cell therapy. Our multi-specialty team deploys SVF under an institutional review board (IRB). This is an approved protocol that governs investigational work and the focus is to maintain safety of autologous use of SVF for various degenerative conditions.
How do we perform the stem cell treatment?
Our procedure is very safe and completed in a single visit to our clinic. On the day of treatment, our physicians inject a local anaesthetic and harvest approximately 60 cc (2 oz.) of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) from under the skin of your flanks or abdomen. The extracted SVF is then refined in a closed system using strict CSN protocols to produce pure stromal vascular fraction (SVF). SVF contains regenerative cells including mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells, macrophages, endothelial cells, immune regulatory cells, and important growth factors that facilitate your stem cell activity. CSN technology allows us to isolate high numbers of viable stem cells that we can immediately deploy directly into a joint, trigger point, and/or by intravascular infusion. Specific deployment methods have been developed that are unique for each condition being treated.
During the refinement process, the subcutaneous harvested cells and their connecting collagen matrix will be separated, leaving purified free stem cells. About half of the SVF will be pure stem cells, while the remainder will be a combination of other regenerative cells and growth factors. Before the SVF is re-injected into your body during the final part of the process we perform a quality and quantity test which will examine the cell count and viability.
Perfecting the stem cell treatment
Our team records cell numbers and viability so that we can gain a better understanding of what constitutes a successful treatment. Although it is not yet possible to predict what number of cells that will be recovered in a harvest, it is very important that we know the total cell count and cell viability. It is only with this data that we will begin to understand why treatments are very successful, only slightly successful or unsuccessful.
While vigilant about patient safety, we are also learning and sharing with the CSN data bank about which diseases respond best and which deployment methods are most effective with over 80 other clinics.
This data collection from all over the world makes the Cell Surgical Network® the world’s largest regenerative medicine clinical research organization.
Network physicians have the opportunity to share their data, as well as their clinical experiences, thus helping one another to achieve higher levels of scientific understanding and optimizing medical protocols.
Injecting into the vascular system and/or a joint
We will administer the stem cell treatment with two methods:
- Local direct injection directly into a trigger point or a joint, sometimes with ultrasound guidance (also known as intra-articular injection)
- Intravenous injection (IV deployment)
The belief is that for many degenerative joint conditions IV and intra-articular deployment is superior because each of these conditions have a local pathology and a central pathology. The local resident stem cell population has been working very hard to repair the damage and over the course of time these stem cells have become worn out, depleted and slowly die. This essentially causes a state of “stem cell depletion”. When we inject our mix of stem cells, cytokines and growth factors (known as SVF) inflammation is decreased and the regenerative process improved.
The stem cells that we have injected will then bring the level of stem cells closer to the normal level, thus restoring the natural balance and allow the body to heal itself.
Caplan et al, The MSC: An Injury Drugstore, DOI 10.1016/j .stem.2011.06.008
How long does it last?
Many studies have shown the healing and regenerative ability of stem cells. For example, a study in World Journal of Plastic Surgery (Volume 5; May 2016) followed a woman with knee arthritis. Before and after analysis of MRI images confirmed new growth of cartilage tissue. Unlike steroids, lubricants, and other injectable treatments, stem cells actually repair damaged tissue.
As published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine (Volume 12; August 2016), numerous studies with hundreds of patients showed continuous improvement of arthritis for two years. Patients showed improvement three months after a single treatment and they continued to show improvement for two full years. This is why stem cells are often referred to as regenerative medicine.
No one can guarantee results for this or any other treatment. Outcomes will vary from patient to patient. Each potential patient must be assessed individually to determine the potential for optimum results from this regenerative therapy. To learn more about stem cell therapy, please contact us by clicking here or calling our clinic at 604-708-CELL (604-708-2355).