by Dr. Reba Eagles, D.O.M.
Stem cell therapy is becoming more and more prevalent in the field of alternative medicine. There are some clinics that do things the right way and then there are others. How do you know where to go and what to look for? There are three things that are most important when choosing a stem cell clinic.
First, you need to look for a clinic that focuses on the whole body. Stem cells cannot just go into the body and be a magic panacea. They thrive in a healthy environment. As part of the complex immune system they are called to any area of the body with inflammation or needing repair.
This means any area of existing inflammation also needs to be addressed for the stem cells to be most effective. Running the correct labs and looking at inflammation markers as well as the body holistically helps us to determine if there is something that would reduce the efficacy of the treatment.
Recently a patient with COPD had been told he needed hip replacement therapy, but his health was too poor to qualify. His first stem cell hip treatment provided only some relief. His next treatment included treating the COPD at the same time. COPD reduces the amount of oxygen to every cell, which reduces the efficacy of the immune system resulting in reduced healing and repair. Treating both greatly improved his success.
Second, does the clinic source stem cells from a lab/tissue bank that produces the safest and most verifiable source of viable stem cells available? There can be large differences from lab to lab as well as differences in stem cells from our own bodies versus using perinatal tissue.
As we age, our own stem cells diminish both in numbers and the rate at which they reproduce. This means the older we are the less able our own immune system is able to keep up with our rate of degeneration. Depending on your age, your overall health and the severity of the condition you want to treat, perinatal stem cells can offer a much better option for a higher rate of recovery. These come from the placenta and umbilical cord of highly screened mothers who donate this tissue for the benefit of others. The entire process is highly regulated by the FDA.
When researching perinatal stem cells, find a clinic that can provide you specific information about why they choose the stem cells they use and both the safety and efficacy of the product. Is the clinic buying directly from a tissue bank or are they buying from a broker? Some companies buy from tissue banks with the best price and with no regard for either efficacy or safety. One such company was recently closed, and their product recalled because people were becoming ill. It later turned out they bought from a tissue bank that was not in compliance with the FDA. Safety should be the primary goal of the cord bank making your stem cell product with efficacy coming a close second.
Finally, follow up care contributes to the outcome you get from stem cell therapy by about 50%. If you are using the right modalities to influence the health and the growth of stem cells you are going to get a much better outcome. For example, using nutrition to help achieve overall health will reduce inflammation, reduce weight (which adds strain on
joints and will increase the ability of the body to recover). Acupuncture increases blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to stem cells, making them healthier and more effective.