Frequently Asked Questions About Stem Cell Therapy

Table of Contents

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the building blocks of our bodies. They help create new tissue in areas that have been injured or damaged, and they are able to repair certain parts like joints with cartilage problems.  Stem cells have the potential to be transformed into any type of cell in your body. 

Stem cells are different from other cells in that they have self-renewing abilities, can grow for an extended period of time and differentiate into specialized tissue. These characteristics make stem cell therapy very promising as it has the potential to help people with certain conditions like injuries or diseases affecting specific parts within their body.  Stem cells can be transformed into a wide-variety of different cells.  These include: cardiac cells, liver cells, fat cells, bone cells, cartilage cells, nerve cells, and connective tissue cells.

If you’re interested more about this topic, check out our other page covering what are stem cells?

Where do stem cells come from?

There are multiple types of stem cells all coming from different parts of the body.

Embryonic stem cells come from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst.  A blastocyst is when a fertilized egg becomes pregnant, its inner cell mass forms. The formation of two cells then leads to four more being created until it has about 150 total cell pieces inside! These special types are known as trophoblast and contain stem cells that can be isolated from them for study purposes in order to extract specific traits from each type

Adult stem cells, or also referred to as tissue-specific cells, these stem cells have not been identified in all tissues and organs, but in many cases they do exist and have a confirmed role in repairing and maintaining tissue that has been injured or damaged by disease.

Umbilical stem cells come from the blood from an umbilical cord and is rich with stem cells that can be harvested and banked for future use. These are often used in research or to help patients who require donors their own age, but sometimes these stored units are also sufficient enough until a patient’s immune system has time maturity.

ISPs or PLuripotent Stem Cell can be derived from the large pool of differentiated cells in our bodies, which are transformed into an embryonic-like stem cell state.  IPS cells are similar to embryonic stem cells in that they can become any type of cell in the body.

How do stem cells work?

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have not yet taken on a specific job in the body. They can become any other type of cell in the body, so they have the potential to treat a wide variety of diseases.

When using stem cells to treat joint and arthritis pain, stem cells work primarily by secreting very powerful anti-inflammatory proteins. This helps to reduce inflammation and pain. These proteins are more effective than any man-made anti-inflammatory medication on the market, the results are organic, and long lasting.  Stem cells are also very intelligent, and they secrete customized anti-inflammatory proteins that the joint needs.

By rejuvenating dying cells, regeneration of the joint is also seen. However, this regeneration is seen mostly at a microscopic level.  Stem cells also cause “Immunomodulation”. What this means is that they prevent arthritis in the joint from getting worse.

Who is a candidate for stem cell therapy?

For stem cell therapy that reduces joint, back, and arthritis pain, there are two main qualifiers for stem cell therapy.

1. The pain in the back or the joint should be severe enough that it is affecting the patients’ lifestyle. If the pain is not severe, stem cells do not get activated and procedure does not work.

2. Since stem cell therapy is not covered by insurance, patients should be capable of affording it. 

If you are a candidate for a joint replacement or spinal fusion, consider stem cell therapy. The most important reason is that you can always have surgery if stem cell therapy fails. Unfortunately, if surgery fails it becomes more difficult to perform stem cell therapy. 

What type of stem cells do you use?

At StemCures, use only adult stem cells that are found in the bone marrow.  This type of stem cell is FDA compliant and has the lowest risk of infection and other possible side effects.

We use this type of cell because adult stem cells have unique abilities that allow them to differentiate into specialized cell types and self-renew. In the body, adult stem cells serve as a repair system for various tissues such as skin, blood, and gut epithelium by regenerating new cells when our own tissue is damaged or diseased. Adult stem cells can become any kind of cell with a particular function needed by the specialized tissue they reside in. This ability to change into different cell types is called differentiation and it is one of the most important properties of adult stem cells.

What is the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?

Most organs contain stem cells, called adult stem cells, that persist throughout life and contribute to the maintenance and repair of those organs. Not every organ has been shown to contain these cells, and generally adult stem cells have restricted developmental potential, in that their capacity for proliferation is limited and they can give rise only to a few cell types. Embryonic stem cells, by contrast, can divide almost indefinitely and can give rise to every cell type in the body, suggesting that they may be the most versatile source of cells for research and transplantation therapy.

What are the results of stem cell therapy?

Most patients get good results with stem cell therapy. Not everyone responds to it. In our clinic we are seeing 70-80% of patients get excellent results. Many clinical studies are showing that this procedure helps with back pain and knee pain. These studies also did not report any complications.

How long will the results from stem cell therapy last?

Fortunately, patients get many years of relief from this procedure. In one back pain study, even after 5 years, patients continued to see pain relief. In one knee study, pain did not come back even after 12 years. Since it is a new procedure, we do not know the upper limit of the duration of pain relief.

Is there any pain during the procedure?

Generally no. However, if your discs or bone are injected, you may have a flare up for a few days. At StemCures, we treat this pain aggressively with pain killers.

Are there any complications with stem cell therapy?

Multiple studies have shown that there are no major complications of stem cells when used to treat back pain and joint pain.

However, complications have been reported if

  1. Umbilical cord stem cells have been used
  2. Procedure is performed by poorly qualified providers
  3. Stem cells have been injected in the wrong areas

Hence, it is absolutely crucial that you do your research and get the stem cell therapy at the clinic.

What is the cost of stem cell therapy?

To give you the best results, legitimate clinics extract stem cells from your bone marrow and are injected precisely into the areas of pain by a qualified physician. 

To maximize results, meticulous, time-consuming bone marrow aspiration must be done to get a large number of stem cells. Using a quick bone marrow aspiration technique will compromise the number of stem cells extracted. 

Additionally, the right areas must be injected. For example, if you want the best results for back pain, lumbar disc has to be injected. In patients with severe joint pain, the bone of the joint is usually damaged. This bone has to be injected to get the best result.  

Results from this procedure are also depend directly on the quality of the physician performing the therapy.

This procedure usually takes about 2 hours. If the procedure is NOT performed in this fashion, you will NOT see good long term results. These clinics usually charge the patients $4000 to $6000.