Musculoskeletal Care of the Mature Patient

1.  There are different types of stem cells—each with their own purpose.

The different types of tissue-specific stem cells come from different places in our body and each has a special purpose. Tissue-specific stem cells are limited in their potential. For example, the blood-forming stem cells (or hematopoietic stem cells) in the bone marrow regenerate the blood, while skeletally derived stem cells are responsible for bones and joints.

Be wary of clinics that offer treatments with stem cells that originate from a part of the body that is different from the part being treated.

2.  A single stem cell treatment will not work on a multitude of unrelated diseases or conditions.

It is unlikely that a single type of stem cell treatment can treat multiple unrelated conditions, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. It is critical that the cell type used as a treatment be appropriate to the specific disease or condition.

A major warning sign that a clinic may not be credible is when treatments are offered for a wide variety of conditions but rely on a single cell type.

3.  Currently, there are very few widely accepted stem cell therapies.

The range of diseases where stem cell treatments have been shown to be beneficial in responsibly conducted clinical trials is still extremely restricted. Now you may better understand my caution in offering stem cell management of arthritis and why I insist on a clinical trial format

4.  Just because people say stem cells helped them doesn’t mean they did.

There are three main reasons why a person might feel better that are unrelated to the actual stem cell treatment: the ‘placebo effect’, accompanying treatments, and natural fluctuations of the disease or condition. The intense desire or belief that a treatment will work can cause a person to feel like it has and to even experience positive physical changes, such as improved movement or less pain.

Be wary of clinics that measure or advertise their results primarily through patient testimonials.

5.  A large part of why it takes time to develop new therapies is that science itself is a long and difficult process.

If a treatment has not been carefully designed, well studied and gone through the necessary preclinical and clinical testing, it is unlikely to have the desired effect. 

6. To be used in treatments, stem cells will have to behave in specific ways.

For arthritis, one of the greatest barriers to the development of successful stem cell therapies is to get the cells to behave in the desired way. Will an autologous, marrow derived adult mesenchymal stem cell grow cartilage? That’s why my demand for a clinical study as a means of introducing stem cell management.  

 Be wary of claims that stem cells will somehow just know where to go and what to do to treat a specific condition.

7. Just because stem cells came from your body doesn’t mean they are safe.

Every medical procedure has risks. While you are unlikely to have an immune response to your own cells, the procedures used to acquire and deliver them are potentially risky; hence FDA concerns.

8. An experimental treatment offered for sale is not the same as a clinical trial.

The fact that a procedure is experimental does not automatically mean that it is part of a research study or clinical trial. My oversight will be an Institutional Review Board.

Beware of expensive treatments that have not passed successfully through clinical trials.

 

9. Stem cell science is constantly moving forward.

Stem cell science is extraordinarily promising; and that’s why I am tremendously optimistic.

Mitchell B. Sheinkop, M.D.

847-390-7666

1565 N. LaSalle Street

Chicago, Illinois 60610

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