The lack of scientific foundation in stem cell marketing is all around us and negatively impacting those doing the right thing in the evolving discipline of Regenerative Medicine. Yesterday afternoon, a patient for whom I successfully completed a Bone Marrow Concentrate/Stem cell procedure presented to the office for a follow-up visit. She was accompanied by her husband who was experiencing progressive limitation attributable to an arthritic left knee. Because of my patient’s successful experience, her husband had determined now it was his turn. After the intake, I provided the customary explanation of what was to take place. During the question and answer follow-up, both husband, the new patient, and wife, the successful outcome, wanted to know why hers had worked whereas several of their friends had not enjoyed successful outcomes after amniotic fluid interventions.
The explanation is straightforward and based on a precedent, the fact speaks for itself. While Bone Marrow is full of Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Growth Factors when harvested, processed, concentrated and reinjected into the symptomatic joint within 60 to 90 minutes after the harvesting; Amniotic Fluid has no living stem cells after sterilizing, freezing and fast thawing. Restated, Amniotic Fluid has little if any regenerative potential. Why am I able to make said statements in the face of such aggressive marketing claims regarding amniotic fluid? In addition to my work clinically and scientifically with Bone Marrow Derived stem cells and growth factors, I am the Principal Investigator in a clinical trial wherein amniotic fluid both frozen and fast thawed, and most recently, Lyophilized, has been used in lieu of hyaluronic acid to reduce or possible relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis for six to 12 months. At no time did the largest amniotic product based pharmaceutical company in the United States suggest there are viable stem cells in amniotic fluid nor did they make any claim for regenerative potential. Returning to my office encounter, during our continued discussion, I learned that those who had opted for the amniotic fluid injection had paid more for the injections than I charge for the Bone Marrow intervention. So, think about the harm done to the “victims” as well as the public in general. The trusting patients paid for a regenerative procedure that they never received. The patients believing that the stem cell procedure didn’t work are now considering total joint replacements.
How might you protect yourself if you are considering a means by which you might postpone or avoid a joint replacement for arthritis? Make sure you choose a residency and fellowship trained interventional specialist. Second, ask the clinician to share his or her scientific outcomes data.
If you want to become better informed, browse my website www.sheinkopmd.com.
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Disclaimer: All medical procedures have a success and failure rate. Not all patients will experience the same results.