Stem Cells Help Joint Pain and More
Decades of research about stem cell therapy, published everywhere from numerous medical journals to National Geographic and the New York Times, has shown that stem cells have the unique ability to become many different types of cells which can replicate rapidly. This breakthrough has resulted in life-saving therapies and treatments of many diseases and conditions, as well as regenerative therapy, which utilizes healthy stem cells to replace diseased cells.
With regenerative therapy, stem cells are delivered through injection as close as possible to the injury site. “Each stem cell has a receptor, like an antenna, so when you inject a stem cell, a new receptor pops up, and the cells look around and find what needs to be repaired,” explains Pamela Smith, who offers regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy at her wellness center, The Healing Sanctuary Institute of Texas (THSI). “The stem cell then transforms itself into whatever cell is needed to repair that site.”
Smith notes there are different categories of stem cell therapy, and it’s important for patients to ask three questions: where the stem cells come from, the count of the stem cells and the delivery method. One of the first stem cell therapies used was platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which draws a patient’s own blood and spins it in a centrifuge that separates the stem cells from the plasma. Smith says the procedure originated in Hollywood as the ‘vampire facial’ which involved doctors injecting the stem cells into wrinkles and using plasma on the face to support the rebuilding of the collagen.
“We know now that stem cells are the key to anti-aging and regeneration of the matrix of the human body. You can rebuild with stem cells,” Smith says. The next phase of stem cell application was to draw out stem cells from body fat, in which doctors do liposuction and separate the fat from the stem cells, reconstitute it and inject it into the injury site. This procedure is used primarily for orthopedic purposes versus cosmetic.
Stem cells can also be harvested directly from umbilical cords after a birth of a healthy, live baby; Dr. Tim Holcomb, at THSI, uses this type of stem cell therapy. Smith emphasizes the heaviest concentration of stem cells is going to be in the umbilical cord. “With umbilical cord stem cells, you don’t have a rejection factor because the mom and the baby can have different blood types,” Smith says. “Another advantage is that you’re not centrifuging it, you’re not separating it and you’re not reconstituting it, and those are three areas where you can have contamination. Stem cells taken directly from the umbilical cord are dropped straight into a syringe, put on dry ice and flown to where it needs to go, so you don’t lose stem cells.”
Through the regenerative stem cell process that Smith uses, new mothers sign consent forms allowing donation of umbilical cord blood from a live birth. All patients’ blood is screened for infections and diseases, and only cord blood from healthy mothers and babies is accepted. Smith emphasized that stem cells used in many regenerative therapies do not come from aborted babies. Due to restrictions the state of Texas has on umbilical cord use, Smith sources cord blood for stem cell therapy from other states, primarily California.
As we get older, the body’s natural stem cell count lowers, so those drawn using methods like PRP or body fat may have a lower stem cell count. New stem cells drawn from cord blood that have never been replicated are heavily concentrated and have no rejection issues, Smith says. Also, older or large joints need more stem cells for the repair process.
Smith cites many successful recovery stories of patients back, hip and joint pain improving through stem cell regeneration; particularly a multiple sclerosis patient and former concert violinist who, after receiving a stem cell injection near the spine, regained use of her hands and arms.
Smith also uses other services such as the Ondamed biofeedback machine and detoxification therapies on her patients to help get the body in the best condition to accept stem cells. “I believe it’s the wave of the future,” Smith says of stem cell therapy. “The body can heal itself and knows what to do; you just have to clean out the garbage and give it the proper tools to repair itself.”
The Healing Sanctuary Institute of Texas is located at 2603 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 100, in Dallas. For more information, call 972-521-6550 or visit TheHealingSanctuaryInstitute.com.