What are Stem Cells? Aren’t They Controversial?
Stem cells are any cell that can replicate and differentiate, meaning they can both multiply and also turn into different types of tissues. There are multiple types of stem cells, but most people are familiar with “embryonic stem cells,” which have not yet differentiated and can therefore become any type of tissue or body part once they do. Because embryonic stem cells are harvested from unborn or discarded human embryos, there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding their use.
However, at the Carolina Stem Cell Treatment Center, our stem cell research focuses on “adult stem cells,” also known as mesenchymal stem cells. These cells reside in many tissues in the human body, including blood, bone marrow, and fat. Since we harvest them directly from our patients, adult stem cells are not associated with the controversy that surrounds the use of embryonic stem cells.
While adult stem cell research and treatment is legal and safe, it is not currently FDA approved. Our procedures do, however, fall under the category of physicians practice of medicine, which allows the physician and patient freedom to pursue their chosen form of treatment. The FDA does have guidelines about the treatment and manipulation of a patient’s own tissues, and we meet all of these guidelines with our adult stem cell treatments.
How are These Stem Cells Obtained?
At the Carolina Stem Cell Treatment Center, we harvest the adult stem cells we use in our treatments directly from our patients, and we only use their own harvested cells in the course of their therapy. Through the use of a miniaturized form of liposuction, and local anesthesia, we generally remove about 50 mL, or just less than 2 fluid ounces, of fat from the patient’s abdominal area. This removed fat is then processed in a sterile “closed system” which never comes into contact with the outside environment. Our processing methods yield between half a million and five million stem cells per cubic centimeters of fat, which is significantly more than can be harvested from blood or bone marrow.
How are Stem Cells Deployed into the Patient?
The specific process and location for adult stem cell deployment in patients will vary depending upon the type of condition being treated and the type of treatment required. Adult stem cells can be injected through veins, into spinal fluid, subcutaneously, or directly into joints or organs in methods which are considered to be minimally invasive. Because we use the patient’s own cells, there is no risk of rejection or other adverse bodily reactions associated with our treatments.
Will My Treatment Work, and How Long Will it Take?
Because adult stem cell treatments are still experimental and therefore not yet fully understood, the regenerative effects of our treatments can vary from patient to patient and will also vary depending upon what disease or condition is being treated. FDA regulations prohibit CSCTC from making specific claims about expectations for success with adult stem cell treatments, but if you are chosen to receive treatment, we will explain our expectations for your specific case before we begin treatment.
Because stem cells rely on your body’s own, natural healing processes, regeneration can take several months, but with certain specific diseases and conditions, more immediate responses are possible.
Who is Eligible as a Candidate for Treatment?
At the Carolina Stem Cell Treatment Center, we are currently only treating certain medical conditions and problems. All patients need to be medically stable enough to undergo treatment in our facility, and some patients may be declined due to the severity of their problem. Patients with uncontrolled cancers are automatically excluded from consideration, and any patients with active infections must be treated accordingly first. We also must specially evaluate patients with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinning medications. If a patient is selected for treatment, his or her participation in any of our protocols is not mandatory and there are no incentives, financial or otherwise.