“Stem Cell Therapies” have become widely hyped and advertised in the United States. Many procedures utilizing stem cells have been available outside the United States for many years. In the last ten years, increasing data and medical studies have begun to be published in the medical literature.
This past June, an international medical conference of some of the world’s leading experts in the field of regenerative orthopedic and spine medicine took place. Known as the TOBI conference, the conference is aimed at sharing clinical studies, data, and experience. Now in its 12th year, it brings together the most knowledgeable physicians sub-specializing in Regenerative Orthopedic and Spine medicine. The annual conference is aimed at providing physicians an opportunity to learn and share information from leaders in this new field of medicine.
Cellaxys’s Dr. Matthew Otten has been on faculty for the conference for the past 11 years. He has been a leader in the field of Regenerative Orthopedic and Sports Medicine. Before we begin with some clinical data worth discussing from the conference, we should give you some background on “stem cell therapies” or Regenerative Orthopedic and Spine procedures and nomenclature.
There are many names or synonyms for “Stem Cell Therapies.” Some of the most common terms you may hear are Orthobiologics, Cord Stem Cells, umbilical cord products, exosomes, micro fragmented adipose tissue, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, “BMAC” and Regenerative Medicine. It is important that recognize that the term “Stem Cells” can imply many different procedures and products. Let’s focus on the most studied, safest, and most accepted procedures among the experts.
There are two main techniques of obtaining your own stem cells, these are the most studied procedures in “stem cell therapies.” These can be obtained from either fat (“adipose”) or bone marrow (“BMAC”). Technically, these procedures are often referred to as “Microfragmented Adipose tissue transplant” or “Bone Marrow Concentrate transplant.” The specific stem cell of interest in these procedures the Mesenchymal Stem Cell. Know often as an MSC, these are predominately the orthopedic and spine stem cell.
Orthobiologics is another term that was initially used as the term to define regenerative orthopedic and spine procedures. This term is still used, but is rather complicated and mainly used between medical professionals. Many procedures can be defined as Orthobiologics; PRP, Bone Marrow, and Adipose/Fat Stem Cell, A2M among others. Essentially, it is a procedure where your own healing components are harvested, concentrated, and then transplanted.
There are a number of other products available on the market that are from donors, not yourself. These can include cord stem cells, placental tissue, exosomes, Wharton’s jelly among others. There is a wide arrange of these products from many different companies. These products generally are not as well studied as the procedures that use your own healing cells.
Your research as a patient should be driven by scientific data and information. Given the newfound popularity or Regenerative Orthopedic and Spine procedures, you need to protect yourself from unqualified physicians and clinics. Now that we have gone through a brief background, let’s discuss some studies, clinical outcomes, and scientific data that has been recently presented at this internationally recognized conference.
Knees are often a focus in the field of Regenerative Medicine. An esteemed colleague of the conference published a 5 year follow up study on mesenchymal stem cell therapy for arthritic knee pain. Following results for 5 years in medicine is extremely difficult, if not impossible in most cases! The patients in the study had their own mesenchymal stem cells transplanted back into the painful knee. Over 2000 patients enrolled in the study and many were able to be followed for the full 5 years. These patients suffer moderate to advance osteoarthritis of their knees (osteoarthritis is the normal ‘wear and tear’ we all develop over time).
First, we will review some of the most important data and then explain this in simple terms.
The patient’s results were measured in VAS, WOMAC, and stiffness grade; all a scoring method to rank pain.
The data showed improvement in all data points with patients having significant improvement in pain, function, and stiffness starting at about 2-3 months after the procedure! The improvement from only one MSC transplant procedure was seen through the five-year study.
So, let’s break this down in plain English. The leading physicians that have been performing these highly specialized procedures were not surprised to see the study reflected their own practices. Dr. Matthew Otten at Cellaxys has been performing these procedures for 10 years. In his clinical practice, he has been able to follow patients and see the long-term positive effects of his procedure.
The WOMAC, VAS, and Stiffness Score are all medical measurements to evaluate pain, function, the ability to play sports, and perform daily activities. Starting about 2-3 months after the mesenchymal stem cell procedures this study demonstrated that patients began to have about 50%-80% improvement. That improvement continued to get better over the course of about one year. After about one year the results stayed constant for the five years of the study. That is if you had about an 80% improvement in the first year those results lasted about 5 years.
The less severe arthritis, the better the patients did in the study. Severe arthritic knees had about a 50-60% reduction in overall pain and function. Moderate arthritis patients had about an 80% improvement.
This long-term study was really able to drive home the point that not only can we transplant your own mesenchymal stem cells to improve arthritic pain, but we can give you long term relief! It is always important to have clinical studies to support what we have seen and experienced in our clinics.
As more studies and clinical information becomes available, our team at Cellaxys will keep you informed. Cellaxys’ goal is to keep you informed about your procedure options, keep you abreast of the latest news-worthy clinical data, and provide you with honest medical information.