Stem Cell Therapy – The Basic Information
Stem cell therapy is a type of regenerative medicine. It is designed to reduce inflammation and modulate the body’s immune system, thereby repairing damaged cells. This mode of treatment makes stem cell therapy a great treatment option for various medical conditions.
Stem cell therapies have helped in treating the following conditions –
- Traumatic injuries
Studies using stem cell therapy have also been conducted to use for –
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Stroke recovery
Stem cell therapy won’t necessarily provide a cure for the aforementioned conditions. The goal is to allow the body to heal itself, hence mitigating the symptoms of the diseases for longer periods. In most cases, the effect of stem cell therapies substantially improves the quality of life for patients while also delaying the progress of the disease.
What Are Stem Cells?
Think of stem cells as the body’s raw materials. Other cells with more specialized functions arise from stem cells. Under the proper conditions, whether in the body or a lab, stem cells divide and form more cells. These are termed daughter cells.
The daughter cells will either –
- Self-renew and become new stem cells or,
- Differentiate into specialized cells such as brain cells, blood cells, bone cells, heart muscle cells, etc.
No other cell in the human body can generate newer cells.
Where Are Stem Cells Obtained From?
There are various sources of stem cells discovered by researchers –.
Embryonic Stem Cells
As the name suggests, stem cells come from 3-5 day old embryos. The stem cells obtained from the embryo are “pluripotent”, meaning they can divide and either self-renew or differentiate into other cells. This behavior allows embryonic stem cells to be used to repair or regenerate diseased organs and tissues.
Adult Stem Cells
Found in a small number, these are obtained from adult tissues like fat or bone marrow. While they have a limited ability to multiply, adult stem cells can create various types of specialized cells, according to research.
Altered Adult Cells
Scientists have successfully managed to transform regular adult cells into stem cells. They’ve achieved this with the help of genetic reprogramming. By changing the genes, adult cells can be reprogrammed to act similar to embryonic stem cells.
More research is underway on how altered adult cells can help in stem cell therapies.
Perinatal Stem Cells
Stem cells have been unearthed in umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid. These stem cells can differentiate and form specialized cells.
Amniotic fluid is responsible for protecting a developing fetus in the uterus. Stem cells have been identified when the fluid sample was drawn from expecting women to test for abnormalities. The procedure is called amniocentesis.
What Are The Different Types Of Stem Cell Therapies?
In a nutshell, there are two categories of stem cell therapies –
- One approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- One unapproved
Whether or not stem cell therapy is approved holds critical implications for the effectiveness, safety, and science of the procedure.
Currently, only a handful of FDA-approved stem cell therapies are available. The most common one is blood stem cell therapy. In this, blood stem cells are transplanted in the patient. This helps treat patients with blood cancers. The therapy works by attacking harmful cancer cells via chemotherapy. These are then replaced with healthy stem cells. The stem cells will then, hopefully, divide and give rise to healthy tissue.
Similar to all FDA-approved treatments, the blood stem cell transplant procedure involved rigorous testing and research over many years.
Other than blood stem cell transplants, the FDA website lists a limited number of additional approved therapies.
How Are Stem Cells Introduced In The Body?
In stem cell therapies, stem cells are administered in various ways –
- Intravenous stem cell therapy
- Intrathecal stem cell therapy – administered directly into the spinal cord
- Site injections – into problematic areas such as hips, knees, hands, etc.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that can self-renew. Furthermore, they can divide and develop into multiple specialized cell types. These adult stem cells utilize the following properties to bring about positive change within the body –
Researchers grow stem cells in a laboratory setting. The stem cells are then manipulated to differentiate into specific types of cells, such as blood cells, nerve cells, heart muscle cells, etc. The specialized cells are then implanted into a person.
For instance, a person with heart issues could have differentiated cells injected into the heart muscle. Healthy heart muscle cells could contribute to repairing and fixing the defective heart muscle.
Enough evidence exists to show that adult bone marrow cells can be guided to become heart-like cells. These then repair the heart tissue in patients. More research is currently underway.
Risks Associated With Stem Cell Therapy
Many patients understand that going through side effects is possible with any medical treatment. However, it isn’t the same for everyone. One patient might experience many side effects with medication, while another patient experiences zero side effects even though they’ve taken the same medication.
Side effects also have different degrees of severity, particularly when it comes to stem cell therapies. A lot of the treatment’s risks involve short-term issues such as –
- Pain from nerve or tissue inflammation
Patients undergoing stem cell therapies are exposed to a pretty low risk of serious side effects. Avoiding medication that might stifle the immune system during stem cell treatment greatly increases the patient’s chances of fighting off an infection.
To find out more about stem cell therapies, how they work, and what you can expect, feel free to get in touch with the OrthoCure clinic. You can schedule an appointment by calling (612) 800-5096. You can also come in to find out whether therapies offered at our clinic are right for you. Dr. Hanson will be more than happy to help you understand how his minimally invasive treatments can work for you. Take the first step to a healthier life!
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are cells that are found in your body. These divide and differentiate to form different cells. Stem cells are found in adult tissues and are categorized into two –
- Embryonic stem cells
- Adult stem cells
Under appropriate conditions, stem cells divide in the body or in a laboratory to form more cells. These are called daughter cells. These cells either differentiate and become specialized cells with a more specific function, or self-renew to become new stem cells.
Daughter cells can become blood cells, heart muscle cells, brain cells, or bone cells. Stem cells are the only cells in the human body that can produce fresh cells naturally.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Stem cell therapy is popularly known as regenerative medicine. The therapy promotes the repair of dysfunctional, diseased, or injured tissue with the help of either stem cells or their derivatives. Stem cells can be used to help people who might otherwise require organ transplantation – which can often take considerable time to receive and is limited.
Stem cells are grown in a laboratory by researchers. These are manipulated to specialize into a specific type of cells, such as blood cells, heart muscle cells, or nerve cells. The specialized cells are then implanted into a person. For instance, patients with heart disease will have the cells injected into their heart muscle. The transplanted cells will then contribute to repairing the defective heart muscle.
What Other Conditions Can Be Treated With Stem Cell Therapy?
Various injuries or conditions can be treated by stem cell therapy. These include –
- Knee Pain
- Hip Arthritis
- Meniscus Tears
- Shoulder Pain
- Labral Tears
- Torn Rotator Cuff
- Chronic Back and Neck Pain
- Wrist and Elbow Pain
- Non-healing Fractures
Treating Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be extremely difficult to treat and is the leading cause of work-related disability. Almost 80% of adults experience back issues at some point in their lives. Additionally, lower back pain is the third most common condition in the United States.
Back pain conditions can be narrowed down, but can’t be pinpointed to a certain condition or cause. No individual tests can’t clearly define what the cause of backache is.
Despite the issue with a specific diagnosis, pain management is an important part of treating lower back pain. Various options include –
- Pain killers – either oral or topical
- Muscle relaxants
- Low doses of antidepressants can relieve certain forms of backaches
- Steroid injections
Physical therapy treats back pain in numerous ways – from muscle release, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound treatment. Special therapists also give you exercises to do at home that strengthen your back muscles along with your core. This helps effectively support your spine, reducing pain from use.
A lot of people opt to supplement their treatments with alternative forms of therapy, like, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and yoga.
If conservative methods of treating back pain fail and if your back pain is coming from a structural issue, your doctor might advise surgery. If the issue is a herniated disc, the surgery is minimally invasive – this removes the part of the herniated disc that is causing pain by pressing against the nerve.
These surgeries generally have a high success rate – about 80% or more. However, patients prefer to pursue alternative therapies.
What Can Stem Cells Do For Back Pain?
While in theory, stem cell treatment might not have any limitations, it might not be the same in reality. Although massic amounts of testing and research are yet to be done, scientists believe that stem cell therapies may apply to an extensive list of diseases someday. One of these diseases is degenerative disc disease and the accompanying back pain.
Since stem cells can develop into any type of cell in the body, they can be valuable for treatment and the healing process. When injected in between the intervertebral discs, stem cells can cause an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effect. This, in turn, alleviates some of the pain the patient is experiencing, along with slowing down the process of degeneration.
Stem cell therapy also decreases any downtime post-injury and allows the patient to avoid painful rehab.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work For Back Pain?
Stem cell therapy, as mentioned earlier, is a regenerative therapy. This means that it helps the degenerated tissues repair themselves – in this case, the intervertebral discs. The cells used in this treatment can –
- Develop into cells required to repair the disc
- Self-renew, so they keep working to heal
- Reduce pain through their anti-inflammatory properties
Stem cell therapy is the first therapy for back pain that relieves pain along with helping the damaged tissue to rebuild itself.
What Happens During Stem Cell Therapy Procedure?
The majority of the time, stem cell therapy for back pain starts by harvesting the stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow.
The harvested cells are then put in a machine called the centrifuge. It processes the cells to create “Bone-Marrow Aspirate Concentrate” or BMAx. This contains the required stem cells along with growth factors and platelets (rich with the growth factor) to help rebuild the damaged tissue.
Once the concentrate is ready, your experienced physician will use a syringe to inject the compound into the affected disc. This procedure is to be performed only by a highly skilled and specially trained physician because it is extremely delicate.
Fluoroscopy – which is a real-time X-ray technology – is used to ensure the correct placement of the injection.
After undergoing stem cell therapy, some patients might experience certain side effects while others might not. Fortunately, however, the side effects of stem cell therapy are relatively short-term and typically low risk. These include –
- Pain due to the affected tissues
- Pain caused by nerve inflammation
Remember to mention to your physician any other medications you might be taking. These may weaken your immune system and, in turn, can cause a pesky infection.
You can find out more about stem cell therapy for back pain at the OrthoCure clinic by getting in touch with us. Give us a call at (612) 800-5096.
What Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS, is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissues in the body. The tissues include blood, bone, fat, and cartilage. These tissues are responsible for supporting other tissues and organs in the body.Ehlers danlos syndrome
Connective tissues are complex protein mixtures along with other substances. These provide elasticity and strength to the body’s underlying structures.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Doctors have classified Ehlers-Danlos syndrome into 13 different types based on –
- The notable features
- The parts where the symptoms appear on the body
Each type of EDS has its specific symptoms.
The most common form of EDS is hypermobile EDS, or Ehlers-Danlos hypermobility. The EDS symptoms for this are –
Overly flexible (hypermobile) joints
The connective tissue between joints is looser, so the joints move far beyond the normal range of motion. Dislocations and joint pain are extremely common.
Thin and stretchy skin
The weak connective tissue allows the skin to stretch beyond normal. People will be able to pull the skin up away from the flesh which snaps back when they let it go. The skin might also feel velvety and soft.
Skin doesn’t heal well in hypermobile EDS. Additionally, patients experience excessive bruising.
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a more severe form of the disease. In this, the walls of your blood vessels, uterus, and intestines can rupture. If you’re thinking of starting a family, speak to a genetic counselor before you do. This is because Vascular EDS can cause serious potential complications in pregnancies.
What Are The Causes Of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Collagen is the protein that adds strength and flexibility to connective tissues. A defect in collagen is the cause of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The condition is genetic and people with the faulty gene have either weak or not enough normal collagen in their connective tissues.
The defect prevents the connective tissue from properly supporting other tissues, organs, and muscles.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders states that the risk of a parent with EDS passing the gene on to the next generation is either 25% or 50%. This depends on whether the gene is recessive or dominant.
Why Does Ehler-Danlos Cause Pain?
Chronic (long-term) pain is common in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and is usually severe. The pain is caused due to –
- Joints moving out of position
- Previous surgery (might be done to treat pain)
- Weakness in the muscles
- Improper movement of the neck and back
- Issues with the sense of joint position
Patients might feel general body ache, exhaustion, headaches, stomach aches, and pains in the face, jaw, or genitals.
How Does Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Affect Your Daily Living?
People with EDS tend to encounter a lot of difficulties in daily life. However, one person’s experience with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome might not be similar to another person’s.
Some of the complications a patient with EDS faces are –
While they can live life as normal as other people, patients with EDS might feel constraints with their mobility. A person with vascular EDS might experience serious fatal complications like a main blood vessel or organ tearing open.
The genetic mutation that affects collagen can cause arthritis in people with Ehler-Danlos syndrome. This is because of the continuous damage that joints undergo. Patients are advised to not extend or lock their joints too much as this can lead to chronic arthritis.
Kyphoscoliosis EDS can cause breathing problems. This occurs due to the abnormal bending of the spin – both forward and sideways.
Dental disease, particularly in the gums, occurs repeatedly in a person with hypermobile EDS.
As mentioned earlier, patients with EDS experience extreme and chronic pain.
Along with breathing problems, Kyphoscoliosis EDS can cause visual damage due to the dislocation of the retina.
How Is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Diagnosed?
Your general healthcare practitioner will use the combination of several tests and your family history to diagnose Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The tests might include –
The most common way to diagnose EDS is by looking for a faulty gene.
Your doctor might remove a sample of your skin and examine it under a microscope to look for any signs of the disorder.
Your doctor will evaluate how far the joints can move and how much the skin can stretch.
X-rays and CT scans help identify abnormalities of the heart and bone curvature.
What Treatments Are Available For Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? Is There A Cure For EDS?
Currently, there is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos connective tissue disorder. However, treatment aims at providing symptomatic relief and reduction of the risk of complications.
Cellular therapy is also known as cell therapy or cell transplantation which helps in curing a number of special conditions. In this treatment, viable cells are either grafted, injected or implanted into a patient. This procedure triggers a medicinal effect. For example, cancer patients are transplanted with T-cells. These fight cancer cells through cell-mediated immunity. Similarly, stem cell grafts can regenerate diseased tissues.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
You must work with a physical therapist who is familiar with EDS. Physical therapy goes a long way in managing joint symptoms and preventing dislocations.
In addition to physical therapy and exercise, your therapist might recommend splints and braces to support the weaker joints.
The syndrome causes a lot of discomfort and chronic pain in the muscles, joints, and nerves. Additionally, it can also cause headaches and stomach problems.
Medication is crucial for pain management and involves taking over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acute injuries might require prescription pain relief.
Doctors might prescribe additional medications for managing other symptoms. People with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome might require medication to lower their blood pressure to reduce the chances of a blood vessel rupture.
Doctors might advise surgery for any of the following scenarios –
- Fixing ruptured blood vessels
- Stabilizing a joint
- Repairing a damaged joint
- Reducing pressure on the nerves
However, because Ehlers-Danlos syndrome causes the skin to heal slowly, surgery isn’t always recommended due to the additional risk.
What Is Involved In The Cellular Therapy Treatment of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
The cellular therapy involved in the treatment of EDS is comprehensive prolotherapy. In this treatment, various injections are administered to the affected joint. The therapy is designed to induce inflammation, thereby alerting the body’s healing factors and immune cells. These rush to the injection site and rebuild and repair degenerated or injured soft tissues or joints.
The goal of cellular therapy in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is to find the balance between repair and breakdown of cells in the body. Cellular therapy treatments help treat EDS the same way conventional treatments do. It helps in stabilizing painful joints, decreasing inflammation and pain, increasing circulation, and building strength.
Where Does OrthoCure Clinic Come In?
At the OrthoCure clinic, Dr. Hanson examines his patients under fluoroscopy and ultrasound. This helps him understand what is loose, weak, and injured. He then proceeds to treat the patient with advanced cellular therapies.
To know more about how we can help with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, schedule a consultation by calling (612) 800-5096.