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Stem Cell FAQs


Our adipose derived stem cell harvesting and isolation technique yields extremely high numbers of stem cells. In reviewing outcomes data, treatment cell numbers appear to correlate with treatment success. Our cells are actually in a type of “soup” called Stromal Vascular Fraction SVF which is stem cells bathed in a rich mixture of natural growth factors (Not the same as human growth factor hormone which is only one type of growth factor). Some types of orthopedic and urologic diseases appear to respond better to stem cells that are super enriched with growth factors created by administering Platelet Rich Plasma to the patient. Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma is derived from a patient's own blood drawn at the time of deployment. At CSN we do not add any foreign substances or medications to the stem cells.

Yes. Patients with uncontrolled cancer are excluded. If you have an active infection anywhere in your body you must be treated first. Severely ill patients may require special consideration. Also, anyone with a bleeding disorder or who takes blood thinning medications requires special evaluation before consideration for stem cells.

We know of no documented cases personally or in the literature where serious harm has resulted. All of our patients will be entered into a database to follow and report any adverse reactions. This information is vital to the development of stem cell science. There have been a few reports of serious complications from overseas and these are being thoroughly evaluated by epidemiologists to ascertain the facts. The International Stem Cell Society registry has over 1,000 cases currently registered and only 2% of the treatments were associated with any complications, none of which were considered “serious adverse events.”

Stem cells can be cryopreserved in the form of liposuction fat for prolonged periods of time. Currently, this service is outsourced to an outside provider known to have excellent quality control. Many patients have been inquiring about banking cells while they are still young since stem cell numbers drop naturally with each decade of life and some advocate obtaining and saving cells to be used later in life as needed.

Different conditions are treated in different ways and there are different degrees of success. If the goal is regeneration of joint cartilage, one may not see expected results until several months after treatment. Some patients may not experience significant improvement and others may see dramatic regeneration of damaged tissue or resolution of disease. Many of the disorders and problems that the physicians at CSN are treating represent pioneering work and there is a lack of data. FDA regulations prevent CSN from making any claims about expectations for success, however, if you are chosen for treatment, it will be explained that we believe stem cell therapy may be beneficial or in some cases that we are unsure and treatment would be considered investigational.

Adult mesenchymal stem cells are not known to cause cancer. Some patients have heard of stories of cancer caused by stem cells, but these are probably related to the use of embryonic cells (Not Adult Mesenchymal Cells). These embryonic tumors known as teratomas are rare but possible occurrences when embryonic cells are used.

No. Many are confused by this because they have heard of cancer patients receiving “stem cell transplants.” These patients had ablative bone marrow therapy and need stem cells to re-populate their blood and marrow. This is different from the stem cells we deploy to treat noncancerous human diseases at CSN.

No. Only adult mesenchymal stem cells are used. These cells are capable of forming bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, ligaments, blood vessels, and certain organs. Embryonic stem cells are associated with ethical considerations and limitations.

No. Only a person's own adult autologous cells are used. These are harvested from each individual and deployed back into their own body. There is no risk of contamination or risk of introduction of mammalian DNA into the treatments.

Depending on the type of treatment required, stem cells can be injected through veins, arteries, into spinal fluid, subcutaneously, or directly into joints or organs. All of these are considered minimally invasive methods of introducing the stem cells. Stem cells injected intravenously are known to “seek out and find” (see photo) areas of tissue damage and migrate to that location thus potentially providing regenerative healing. Intravenously injected stem cells have been shown to have the capability of crossing the “blood-brain barrier” to enter the central nervous system and they can be identified in the patient's body many months after deployment. Note yellow arrow showing the stem cells concentrated in the patient's hand where he had a Dupytren's contracture (Dupuytren's contracture is a hand deformity that causes the tissue beneath the surface of the hand to thicken and contract).

These adult stem cells are known as “progenitor” cells. This means they remain dormant (do nothing) unless they witness some level of tissue injury. It's the tissue injury that turns them on. So, when a person has a degenerative type problem, the stem cells tend to go to that area of need and stimulate the healing process. We're still not sure if they simply change into the type of injured tissue needed for repair or if they send out signals that induces the repair by some other mechanism. Suffice it to say that there are multiple animal models and a plethora of human evidence that indicates these are significant reparative cells.

Stem cells are harvested under sterile conditions using a special “closed system” technology so that the cells never come into contact with the environment throughout the entire process from removal to deployment. Sterile technique and antibiotics are also used to prevent infection.

Ohio Stem Cell Treatment Center patients have their fat (usually abdominal) harvested in our special sterile treatment facility under a local anesthetic. The fat removal procedure lasts approximately twenty minutes. Specially designed equipment is used to harvest the fat cells and less than 100cc of fat is required. Post operative discomfort is minimal and there is minimal restriction on activity.

Stem cell therapy relies on the body's own regenerative healing to occur. The regenerative process may take time, particularly with orthopedic patients, who may not see results for several months. In some diseases, more immediate responses are possible.

Most patients, especially those with orthopedic conditions, require only one deployment. Certain types of degenerative conditions, particularly auto-immune disease, may respond best to a series of stem cell deployments. The number and necessity of any additional treatments would be decided on a case by case basis. Financial consideration is given in these instances.

No. Only certain medical problems are currently being treated at CSN. Check our list or fill out a candidate application form on the website. All patients need to be medically stable enough to have the treatment in our facility. There may be some exceptional conditions that may eventually be treated in hospitalized patients, but that remains for the future. Some patients may be declined due to the severity of their problem. Other patients may not have conditions appropriate to treat or may not be covered by our specialists or our protocols. A waiting list or outside referral (if we know of someone else treating such a problem) might be applicable in such cases.

NO. However, the Cell Surgical Network's procedures fall under the category of physician's practice of medicine, wherein the physician and patient are free to consider their chosen course of treatment. The FDA does have guidelines about treatment and manipulation of a patient's own tissues. At CSN we meet these guidelines by providing same day treatment with the patient's own cells that undergo very minimal manipulation and are inserted during the same procedure.

Stem cells are harvested and deployed during the same procedure. Our patients undergo a minimally-invasive liposuction type of harvesting procedure by a Board Certified cosmetic surgeon in our specialized treatment facility in a Treatment Center closest to you. The harvesting procedure generally lasts a few minutes and can be done under local anesthesia. Cells are then processed and are ready for deployment within 90 minutes or less.

CSN is doing pioneer research and treatment of many diseases. All investigational data is being collected so that results will be published in peer review literature and ultimately used to promote the advancement of cellular based regenerative medicine. FDA regulations mandate that no advertising medical claims be made and that even website testimonials are prohibited.

Stem cell therapy is thought to be safe and not affect dormant cancers. If someone has had cancer that was treated and responded sucessfully, there is know reason to withhold stem cell deployment. In most cases, stem cells should not be used in patients with known active cancer.