After my last blog was posted, a patient sent me a brochure she had received while attending a Regenerative Medicine Seminar focusing on how “stem cell therapy could change your life”. Within the brochure was a full page dedicated to how amniotic fluid stem cell therapy could treat ALS, Autoimmune Disease, Avascular Necrosis, Cartilage Damage, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Traumatic Brain Injury, to name just a few of the 30 listed conditions. The marketing hype went on to indicate “_________ is building the largest network of FDA compliant stem cell centers in the US.”
Last week I emphasized that in order to FDA compliant, Regenerative Medicine must follow several regulatory requirements:
- Minimal Manipulation of the cells or tissue bearing the cells
- Autologous source and homologous application
Minimal manipulation of cells means that they can not be cultured nor can tissues be treated with enzymes to release the stem cells. One such example is a prohibition on fat being subjected to the enzyme collagenase. In simple terms, it is contrary to FDA regulations to perform a liposuction, treat the recovered fat with an enzyme, and inject the cells into a joint or other skeletomuscular structure. As of this writing, I am still seeking clarification on using a mechanical means to emulsify the fat and use the end product in the musculoskeletal system.
Autologous is defined by Merriam-Webster as “involving one individual as both donor and recipient”. It then follows that it is contrary to FDA regulations to use the stem cells in amniotic fluid when recovered by amniocentesis in the musculoskeletal system of a different individual. Add to the latter, the fact that there are no living stem cells in amniotic fluid once sterilized, frozen or lyophilized for preservation and fast thawed for intervention.
Next, I will address homologous as “having the same relation, relative position, or structure” according to the Oxford dictionary. From the FDA oversite standpoint, you can’t put stem cells from amniotic fluid into a joint nor can you introduce fat into a joint. For those patients with arthritis and related orthopedic conditions, beware of the scammers, charlatans and camp followers. As well, for those with degenerative diseases other than orthopedic, be forewarned. There are scoundrels out there very willing to fleece you and take advantage of desperation. For those looking to address non-orthopedic degenerative conditions such as ALS, Autoimmune Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Multiple Sclerosis, etc., clinical trials are taking place at major medical centers. You may learn about the various trials at NIH.Gov. The FDA warned the non-compliant clinics that they have three years so cheaters will continue to cheat.
From the skeletomuscular and arthritic standpoint, there are clinical specialists available to address your arthritic and other orthopedic problems using FDA compliant Platelet and Bone Marrow derived options just as credentialed as all the other specialties in medicine and surgery. As an orthopedic surgeon, I for one have the scientific outcomes data to support my cellular orthopedic initiatives. To learn more about evidence based cellular orthopedics call 312 475 1893 to schedule a consultation.