Why Stem Cell & Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

Although stem cells might sound innovative and cutting edge, this therapy has been around for quite some time. In the past, these cells were very difficult and expensive to procure. However, in today’s world with modern advances in our techniques and equipment, stem cells can be obtained in our surgical rooms.

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells, that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. They are found in multicellular organisms. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing and repairing adult tissues.

 

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There are three accessible sources of adult stem cells in humans:

  1. Bone marrow, which requires extraction by harvesting, that is, drilling into bone, (Typically the femur or iliac crest).
  2. Adipose tissue (lipid cells), which requires extraction by liposuction, and
  3. Blood, which requires extraction through pheresis, wherein blood is drawn from the donor (similar to a blood donation), passed through a machine that extracts the stem cells and returns other portions of the blood to the donor.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is produced by drawing 2 oz. (60cc) of the patient’s own blood and then placing it in a machine called a centrifuge. This machine spins the patient’s blood at a very rapid speed causing the platelets, growth factors and white blood cells to be separated from the rest of the blood products. It is this concentration of platelets and growth factors that is injected back into the injured area. Once introduced back into the injured site, the platelets then release more growth factors and signalling proteins that basically tell the body to send in the stem cells and cause the area to heal. The stem cells by themselves are not capable of repairing the area, they need to be directed, and the platelets are considered to be the directors in this cellular process. Allow us to use this analogy in respect, think of the stem cells as the construction workers and the platelets as their supervisors; with the command of the platelets, your stem cells will then have a directed response to where the injury is and where repair is needed, migrate to the site then heal. If the conditions are not severe, the body is usually able to send enough stem cells in to repair the area.

For more severe problems such as osteoarthritis of different joints, we must help the body by injecting stem cells from adipose tissue and/or stem cell derived from bone marrow into the area. Mesenchymal stem cells are the cells that repair and regenerate muscle, bone, cartilage, or tendons and the richest source of where these types of cells are found in are in adipose tissue, your fat! Bone Marrow Aspirate is considered the main coordinator for regenerating joints.

These cells are obtained via mini liposuction. First, a fair amount of local anaesthesia is injected into the site to minimize discomfort from where the fat is extracted. Then, a small liposuction cannula is used to slowly aspirate 5-6cc of fat tissue. Once ready, the processed fat is then injected into the injured site as a form of fat graft for scaffolding purposes. A more advanced method of fat stem cell extraction can be used to obtain higher concentrations of mesenchymal stem cells. This technique for fat stem cell extraction is the same only the procedure requires the harvest of 50-60cc of fat, then it is subjected to cell washing, enzymatic digestion and centrifugation. This process isolates the stem cells from fat, allowing us to capture 100-150 million stem cells. Time wise, this process can take up to 4-5 hours, including the final injection of the stem cells.

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate, or commonly called BMAC is typically done by taking 2 oz. (60cc) of bone marrow aspirate from the back of the pelvis, using a syringe through a small needle. There is little discomfort with this procedure due to the technique used to well anesthetize the bone before placing the needle. There are many other factors in BMAC that make it very important in the regenerative stem cell world. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate contains mesenchymal stem cells, platelets, and other types of stem cells. After it is aspirated, these stem cells are centrifuged and separated out of the aspirate. The final product is then injected into the appropriate area.

Treatment results can vary from person to person. The repair of the area can vary based on age, fitness, etc and can usually take 11-12 months but improvement of the symptom may be noted within 2-3 months. Approximately 4-6 weeks after the stem cell injection, a platelet rich plasma(PRP) injection is performed on the treating site followed by a second PRP injection 4-6 months later. These platelet injections allow the stem cells to continue growing and multiplying into cartilage tissue.

 

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT STEM CELLS AND THEIR BENEFITS

Here we provide more information regarding Stem Cell therapies and specific injuries. Please take you time to read through the articles that are of interest to you and if you require a private consultation with one of our doctors then please contact us by phone or our online booking form.

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Why Integrative Medicine with Dr. Michael Belich?

Dr. Belich, (Pictured on the right with the world’s leading Stem Cell researcher Dr. Purita), is the principal doctor of Integrative Medical Clinics and obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of NSW.

Dr. Belich is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and is a member of Australian Academy A5M of Anti-Ageing Medicine and holds a Diploma in Nutritional Medicine from the Walsh Institute, Illinois USA. Dr Belich has trained extensively with Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Joe Purita in the USA who is one of the world leaders in Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine.

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