What is osteoarthritis?Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be exposed and damaged. As a result of decreased movement secondary to pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may become more lax.
How can stem cells help fight arthritis?
Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to induce profound healing activity in animals with various forms of arthritis. For example, the company Vet-Stem routinely utilizes stem cells in horses with various joint deformities to accelerate healing. Besides healing of damaged tissues, stem cells have the unique ability to modulate the immune system so as to shut off pathological responses while preserving ability to fight off disease.
Which kinds of stem cells are used and how are they obtained?
The stem cells we use are called allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells and they are considered to be adult stem cells, not fetal or embryonic. These cells are harvested from donated human umbilical cords after normal, healthy births. Each mother is tested for infectious diseases and has her medical history screened. Proper written consent is obtained from each family prior to donation.
Before they are cleared by the lab for treatments, all of the mesenchymal stem cells are screened for infectious diseases to International Blood Bank Standards.
Only a small percentage of umbilical cords make it past our rigorous screening process.
Dr. Riordan on the Umbilical Cord Selection Process at Stem Cell Institute
“Through retrospective analysis of our cases, we’ve identified proteins and genes that allow us to screen several hundred umbilical cord donations to find the ones that we know are most effective. We only use these cells and we call them ‘golden cells’.
We go through a very high throughput screening process to find cells that we know have the best anti-inflammatory activity, the best immune modulating capacity, and the best ability to stimulate regeneration.”
What are the advantages of treating with allogeneic human umbilical cord tissue (HUCT)-derived mesenchymal stem cells?
- Since HUCT mesenchymal stem cells are immune system privileged, cell rejection is not an issue and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary.
- The stem cells with the best anti-inflammatory activity, immune modulating capacity, and ability to stimulate regeneration can be screened and selected.
- Allogeneic stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days in uniform dosages that contain high cell counts.
- Umbilical cord tissue provides an abundant supply of mesenchymal stem cells.
- No need to collect stem cells through invasive procedures such as liposuction or bone marrow collection
- There is a growing body of evidence showing that mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cords are more robust than mesenchymal stem cells from other sources such as fat.
The body’s immune system is unable to recognize human umbilical cord tissue (HUCT)-derived mesenchmyal stem cells as foreign and therefore they are not rejected. HUCT stem cells have been administered thousands of times at the Stem Cell Institute and there has never been a single instance rejection (graft vs. host disease). Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells also proliferate/differentiate more efficiently than “older” cells, such as those found in the fat and therefore, they are considered to be more “potent”.
In this next video (just past the 1 minute mark), Arnold Caplan, PhD explains the mechanism by which donor mesenchymal stem cells shield themselves from the recipient’s immune system. Dr. Caplan is the scientist who discovered the mesenchymal stem cell. He is commonly referred to as “the father of the mesenchymal stem cell”.
Our stem cells and the US FDA
Human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that were isolated and grown in our laboratory in Panama to create master cell banks are currently being used in the United States.
These cells serve as the starting material for cellular products used in MSC clinical trials for two Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy patients under US FDA’s designation of Investigational New Drug (IND) for single patient compassionate use. (IND 16026 DMD Single Patient)
How are the stem cells administered?
The stem cells are administered by a licensed physician into the affected joint(s) (intra-articular injection) and intravenously (IV). In certain circumstances, stem cells may also be administered intrathecally and/or intramuscularly. Extra intra-articular injections for multiple joints can be arranged as medical requirements dictate.
Osteoarthritis Stem Cell Treatment *Protocol
A typical treatment protocol takes about 4 days. Below is an example.
- Medical evaluation and blood testing
- 1 – 2 Intra-articular (into the joint) injections of HUCT mesenchymal stem cells as needed
- 5 Intravenous injections (IV) of HUCT mesenchymal stem cells
- 1-month supply of Stem Kine supplement (only after medical evaluation in Panama)
*Includes Hilton hotel room with breakfast, WIFI, transportation from and to the airport with VIP airport gate service and expedited customs clearance upon arrival, and transportation between the Hilton and Stem Cell Institute.
What about follow-up after I return home?
We care about how you are doing after you return home. So, we will monitor your post-treatment progress on a regular basis. Regular follow-up also helps us evaluate the effectiveness of our treatments and improve our protocols based on observed outcomes.
Therefore, our medical staff will be contacting you after 1 month, 3 months, 4 months, and 1 year after the treatment to follow up on your condition.
May I speak with any successfully treated patients?
Of course you may. Some of our treated osteoarthritis patients have volunteered to speak with prospective patients after treatment approval. Your patient coordinator will be happy assist you with contacting them at the appropriate time.
You may also take a look at written testimonials, news articles and videos from some of our osteoarthritis patients.
How can I request more information?
You may contact us by telephone 1 (800) 980-STEM (toll-free in US) and 1 (954) 358-3382.
Apply for treatment today:
To apply for stem cell treatment, please complete this Patient Application Form.