Jack of All Trades, Master of Some?
This morning a patient asked me to comment on intravenous infusion of stem cells for diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Cancer and many others. So I spent the next few hours doing research on this type of treatment so I could educate myself and give the patient a reasonably informed opinion. Since I am very open minded when it comes to new utilizations of stem cell therapy and believe that the future of medicine will heavily rely on new discoveries and applications of stem cell therapies, I approached my project with an open mind.
What I discovered is the wild west of medicine. While the FDA has strict and perhaps over bearing regulations regarding stem cell treatment of patients in the United States, other countries have much more liberal regulatory policies allowing for stem cell centers to operate openly marketing to patients world-wide. So, what did I find??? Clinics in Panama, Mexico, India, Singapore, Thailand, China and other locals offering stem cell treatments to treat every disease known to humankind. Having lived through many “medical breakthroughs” in my time, I am very skeptical about single technologies that can treat so many conditions. In fact, I have never seen any technology have such wide spread applications early in the development stage. This reminds me of the thousands of Cancer breakthroughs that have been offered up over the years only to find that the hype does not, in fact, come close to the actual clinical outcomes. What also struck me was the physicians who were the so-called experts in stem cell therapies had little background and almost zero of their own research in stem cell therapies. One such clinic recently started promoting intravenous stem cell infusions and also localized transplants for musculoskeletal conditions including arthritis. The site claims that their physicians are board certified in Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy (there is no such board certification in the U.S. at this time). Now that is something I do know something about and I couldn’t find anything in the physicians’ background that indicated any expertise at all in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions.
The bottom line here is “buyer beware” if you are seeking a cure or treatment for devastating diseases. The attraction of a possible cure, delayed onset of symptoms or some improvement in symptoms are a powerful and compelling seduction for those suffering from conditions that have reached the limits of traditional medicine. I recommend that patients seeking stem cell treatments for these diseases ask the clinic to provide a list of past patients that you may contact. We are asked all the time and will provide those who are considering treatment with patient contacts who have given us permission in writing that they agree to discuss their personal experience and treatment outcomes. Secondly, ask for any published studies regarding outcomes about treatment of your specific condition. Finally, check and verify the qualifications of the physician that will be performing any procedure that you agree to.
Health Link Medical Center is focused on providing expert treatment of the Regenexx family of advanced procedures for orthopedic conditions. We provide an extensive history and background of research and development that has been widely acknowledged to be the most extensive on the topic. Regenexx has a multi-million dollar research and development laboratory in Broomfield, Colorado that is staffed by highly qualified and credentialed specialists in everything from cell biology and physiology to genetics. In fact, Regenexx research and development staff also includes bio-engineers to develop new tools, and bio-statisticians to crunch the data and provide the network providers with the latest information to help us to optimize our treatments. We are proud to be one of the first licensed providers of Regenexx procedures and our staff and board certified specialists are dedicated to providing the best care possible for each patient.