Your own stem cells can make you healthier

Stem cell - an unspecialized cell that gives rise to differentiated (specialized) cells. For instance, an embryonic stem cell can divide and reproduce to become muscle cells, or neurons, or bone cells, or more stem cells. Or any combination.

     Stem cells are the "generic" cells from which all other cells in our body grow. They are "undifferentiated", while specialized cells like muscle cells and liver cells are "differentiated". Stem cells, in other words, can "grow up" to be any kind of cell. Differentiated cells can't.

     So it's the stem cells in your body that are responsible for making all the new cells. Every tissue in your body has its own stem cells for its own repair. How do they do this? When your body needs repair it sends out chemical signals. The stem cells detect these signals and come running to the site where repair is needed. They then start dividing, thus creating new cells, and secreting growth factors, which tell the new cells what to do. The new cells differentiate into the types of cells that are needed at the repair site and are organized into the appropriate kind of tissue. Voila! Mission accomplished.

     It's these two characteristics of stem cells that are really interesting to us: 1) the capability of dividing and creating many differentiated cells, and 2) the ability to secrete growth factors which tell other cells what to do in the healing process. Harnessing these two characteristics is a lot of what regenerative medicine is about.

     As it happens, your body contains a ready supply of easily accessible stem cells. Some of them we've already been using for decades and didn't even know it. Bone marrow transplants are really stem cell transplants. We've been doing these since before we even really knew what stem cells were.stem cell therapy

     But your biggest reservoir of stem cells is not the bone marrow. Believe it or not, it's your fat. Yes, that ugly stuff we all want to get rid of is chock full of stem cells. More than any other tissue in the body. And they're not hard to get at either. A little liposuction and then centrifuge the fat you collect and you can get big tubes of stem cell-rich fat. You can use this itself for fat transfer or you can separate out the stem cells and use them alone for other therapies.

Safety and Regulation

     Because stem cell therapies are new and still investigational we don't yet have much information about their long term effects. In recognition of this the FDA has placed restrictions on the use of stem cells in the United States. Practitioners may use stem cells in treatments as long as they follow these requirements:

  1. The cells must be autologous. I.e. they must come from the same person that they are used in.
  2. The cells may be only minimally manipulated. I.e. they annot be cultured, genetically modified, etc.
  3. They must be used in the same procedure in which they are obtained. I.e. They cannot be banked, saved, transported to another facility, etc.

 

Of course we follow all these requirements at Rejuvacare.

Insurance

     Another effect of using new, innovative therapies is that the insurance companies have not yet approved them for insurance coverage. Unfortunately this means that the patient must bear the full cost of the procedure. On the other hand, stem cell therapies are relatively inexpensive. Certainly they are much cheaper than some of the alternatives like hip replacement or back surgery.

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