The difference between platelet-rich plasma therapy, also known as PRP, and the Orthokine treatment that Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant and other athletes have received in recent months in Germany is fairly straight forward. I personally treat athletic injuries and arthritis with PRP; but, do not use the Orthokine procedure because it is not approved in the United States or Canada.

With PRP, I withdraw 20 cc blood, spin it in a special kit and inject plasma that is rich in platelets and lymphocytes into joints, thereby introducing growth factor and hopefully helping the body to heal itself. In the Orthokine procedure, 20 ccs of a patient’s blood are mixed in a tube with ‘factors,’ incubated for a time , the blood is spun down, and the substance is injected much in the same way as PRP.

The theory of Orthokine, which has also been used by Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant and golfers Vijay Singh and Fred Couples, among other athletes, is that Orthokine addresses one of the possible triggers of joint disease; thought to be the protein interleukin. The theory is an attack on one of the culprits behind arthritis. The protein is an important part of the body’s immune system and has the ability to alter the function of other cells. IL-1 can be positive when it allows the body’s ‘repair troops’ to move in quickly to fight infection or other kinds of damage; but it can also trigger inflammatory processes that lead to degeneration and breakdown of cartilage.  These negative effects are primarily responsible for the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis.

The Germans say that another protein that counteracts the effects of IL-1 is a ‘good protein’ in the body called anti-IL(1) produced by blood cells that protects cartilage by keeping the pro-inflammatory proteins in check. It is the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory and that is what gets mixed in prior to incubation.

In none of these treatments, PRP, stem-cell therapy Yankee pitcher Bartolo Colon had performed in the Dominican Republic. Is there good published research readily available that confirms they are effective, although it could turn out to be so. Individual anecdotes suggest they work. The procedures are not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency or by Major League Baseball. However, Rodriguez was given the go-ahead by MLB and the Yankees to have it done in Germany. While PRP is available throughout the United States, the Regenerative Pain Clinic Bone Marrow Concentrate Stem Cell Pilot is now open for enrollment. Bone Marrow Concentrate has all the right proteins but does it work? Why am I advocating Bone Marrow Concentrate?

What’s in Bone Marrow Concentrate: Both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and the factors: Fibroblast Growth Factor-b, PDGF-AB, TGF-B, and VEGF.

 Call to see if you might qualify for the clinical pilot trial.

Mitchell B. Sheinkop, M.D.

1565 N LaSalle Street

Chicago, Illinois 60622

847-390-7666

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