Allograft Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the unique potential of regeneration and differentiation into different types of cells. They act like a repair system replacing cells and tissue lost due to injury or disease. With increasing age however, there is a reduction in the number of available stem cells. Stem Cell Therapy is aimed at increasing the availability of stem cells at areas of tissue damage to enhance healing and regeneration. When combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)/ Autologus Conditioned Plasma (ACP), it provides the most robust biologic injection anyone can receive. Dr. Herrera believes in mixing together the patient’s own plasma with the donated stem cells.
In orthopedics, stem cells are used to treat degenerative conditions of the shoulders, knees, hips, and spine such as arthritis. It is also recommended for the treatment of soft tissue (muscle, ligaments and tendons) as well as bone-related injuries. Stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties and can help regulate the immune system response. Much still needs to be learned from this ground-breaking treatment, but few will argue its potential for healing.
Consumers need to be weary of false advertising when it comes to stem cells. Available sources include amniotic fluid and fat. Amniotic fluid comes from a baby’s birth sac and does contain a small number of stem cells. However, once that fluid is saved for a tissue bank, collected, processed, preserved, frozen, shipped, and shock thawed by a doctor, there are no viable cells, let alone stem cells. Adipose has very little stem cells present, but is easy to obtain by non-surgeons.
The cellular component of Arthrocell (Arthrex, Inc, www.Arthrex.com) consists of mesenchymal stem cells, osteoprogenitor cells, and a cell population that includes marrow-isolated adult multilineage-inducible (MIAMI) cells. These primitive cells provide properties that support the patient’s innate healing process. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell present in ArthroCellTM that have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into bone, cartilage, fat, muscle and tendon. Arthrocell also contains MIAMI cells: marrow-isolated multi-lineage inducible (MIAMI) cells which are similar to human embryonic stem cells and retain the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages. There are a minimum of 150,000 stem cells per cc of Arthrocell.
The Angel PRP system contains a proprietary platelet sensor system, which allows for customized cellular concentrations of Platelet Rich Plasma. High Specificity 3ST light sensor technology results in a high yield of PRP from whole blood or bone marrow aspirate. Angel is the only PRP device that can deliver platelet concentrations of 18x baseline. The Angel system also allows for adjustable White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell Concentrations depending on the patients needs.
Stem cells may be obtained from various sources such as bone marrow, fat, blood, umbilical cord and embryonal tissue. Allograft stem cells are obtained from a donor or tissue bank. Autograft stem cells can be obtained by aspirating bone marrow from the iliac crest (pelvis) but is very painful. Vertebral bodies of deceased donors have a high concentration of stem cells (3-4 x compared to iliac crest) and are ideal for allograft stem cell therapy. Allograft (donated) stem cells also avoids having to place a large painful needle into the patient’s pelvis. This can avoid complications such as persistent donor site pain, infection, etc.
Stem cell therapy is done in an outpatient facility. First the patient will register and once registered blood will be drawn to obtain the plasma. The platelet rich plasma will then be combined with the donated stem cells into one syringe. Dr. Herrera will first clean and numb the area to be treated. Under the guidance of special X-rays, the stem cell preparation will be injected into the diseased region. The whole procedure usually takes less than an hour and you will return home the same day of the procedure. Occasionally, the whole procedure needs to be repeated on another day, depending on the problem the patient may be having.
Potential risks of allograft stem cell therapy include contamination of the stem cell preparation as well as infection and tissue damage associated with any injection procedure. Rarely, an immune reaction may occur due to the injected stem cells.
For inquiries regarding potential stem cell therapy, please reach out to Dr. Herrera’s assistants: