Frequently Asked Questions
Why Stem Cells?
Your stem cells are your body’s natural healing cells. They are recruited by chemical signals emitted by damaged tissues to repair and regenerate your damaged cells. Stem cells derived from your own tissues may well be the next major advance in medicine. Stem Cell Life has the technology to produce a solution rich with your own stem cells. Under audited protocols these can be deployed to treat a number of degenerative conditions and diseases.
Why Adipose Derived Stem Cells?
Stem cells can be either adult or embryonic. Adult stem cells can be derived from bone marrow or fat and can be the patient’s own or from someone else. We use only the patient’s own (or autologous), adult (non-embryonic), fat derived mesenchymal stem cells . There have been no cases reported of adult mesenchymal stem cells contributing to tumour formation. Using the patient’s own cells prevents any risk of risk of rejection.
What does research show about stem cells?
Stem cells are tiny “progenitor” cells. They have the potential to recognise tissue injury and repair injured cells. In the right environment, these stem cells can change (differentiate) into bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, collagen, neural tissue, blood vessels and even some organs. Stem cells may also affect healing by secreting special chemical messengers that repair damaged tissue. Adult stem cells appear to be particularly effective in improving painful joints, repairing cartilage and ligaments and even painful conditions along the spine.
Who is a candidate for stem cell deployment?
You may be considering stem cell therapy for a particular condition or your physician may be treating you for a condition that he/she feels might respond to stem cells therapy. At your initial consultation, you will see our doctor who has expertise in stem cell therapy to determine whether stem cell therapy might be appropriate for you. Your decision to proceed with treatments will need to be made between you and your doctor. Patients who have active infections or cancer are not candidates for stem cell treatments.
Some other conditions that can also make you unsuitable for stem cell therapy include: Pregnancy, insufficient fat reserves, Infection, Unstable illness, Cancer, Dementia, blood disorders
If you suffer from any of these complicated conditions we will analyse your condition and may refuse you treatment, your health is always our number one priority.
Other factors to consider
- Whilst this is a small fat harvest procedure it is still surgery and may involve some minor stress and risk for the patient.
- Blood thinning tablets are a particular risk and deserve separate mention. Aspirin (Cartia etc), anti-inflammatories (such as Voltaren) and Warfarin, herbs and oils that thin the blood such as fish oil (includes Krill oil), we may need to request you to stop the blood thinners for 7 days prior to the procedure to ensure safety.
If you think you may be a candidate for one of our stem cell deployment protocols, you may apply for a consultation online using our candidate application form or contact us on (09) 638 4242.
How many treatments may I need?
Most patients, especially those with orthopedic conditions, require only one deployment. Certain types of degenerative conditions, particularly auto-immune disease, will require a series of stem cell deployments. The number and necessity of any additional treatments would be decided on a case by case basis. Financial consideration is given in these instances
The Stem Cell Harvesting Procedure
Stem Cell Life specialises in the use of fat derived stem cells. With our current technology, we can harvest your own fat cells under local anaesthetic, break down the collagen that binds the fat and stem cells and then separate out a solution rich in your own stem cells. The process used by Stem Cell Life yields extremely high numbers of stem cells. Fat can be harvested from any area on your body that has an adequate fat supply, but we prefer to harvest it from the areas that will give you the best yield of cells. The mini-liposuction, done under local anaesthesia, takes about half an hour. Specially designed equipment is used to harvest the fat cells and less than 100cc of fat is required.
This procedure is done under strict sterility and the processing of the cells is done under a completely closed system that is not even exposed to air. Viable cells are then counted for your record. One of our experts from our multidisciplinary staff will inject the cells according to the most appropriate route. This is called “deployment”. A solution rich with your tiny stem cells are administered through injection into tissues, joints or veins. The entire process takes about three hours.
Post-operative discomfort is minimal and there is minimal restriction on activity.
Because it’s your own DNA material, there can be no rejection.
How long does it take to notice improvement
Stem cell therapy relies on the body’s own regenerative healing to occur. The regenerative process may take time, particularly with orthopaedic patients, who may not see results for several months. In some diseases, more immediate responses are possible.
Different conditions are treated in different ways and there are different degrees of success. If the goal is regeneration of joint cartilage, one may not see expected results until several months after treatment. Some patients may not experience significant improvement and others may see dramatic regeneration of damaged tissue or resolution of disease. Many of the disorders and problems that the we are treating represent pioneering work and there is a lack of data. Medical regulations prevent us from making any claims about expectations for success, however, for those who are chosen for treatment, it will be explained that we believe stem cell therapy may be beneficial or in some cases that we are unsure and treatment would be considered investigational.
Arthritis or Joint Injury
The ability to repair tissue via Stem Cell therapy may allow management a wide variety of diseases including peripheral joint injuries and osteoarthritis. Regeneration of meniscus cartilage with Stem Cells has shown remarkable results. Clinical data suggests the treatment of knee injury with Stem Cell Therapy could yield an increase in meniscal cartilage volume and provide an effective treatment for knee injury.
Treatment of Stroke Victims with Stem Cell Therapy
Treatment with Stem Cell Therapy has been shown to reduce infarct size and improve functional outcome. Clinical data shows the promise of this exciting treatment option for Stroke patients.
Stem cells in the treatment of chronic lung disease
Stem Cells have several valuable functions that make them a promising therapeutic option in the field of regenerative medicine, including the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors, the migration of cells to the site of injury when administered and the ability to ‘rescue’ cells through the transfer of functional mitochondria. They also offer the possibility of autologous cell transplantation, circumventing immune rejection. These properties, among others, make MSCs a promising potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic lung diseases including COPD.
Stem Cells and Cardiac Treatment
Stem Cells have shown interesting benefits for Myocardial repair in early clinical data. Studies suggest a possibility for reversing the damage from Myocardial Infarction using Stem Cell Therapy.
Are Embryonic or Fetal Stem Cells used?
No. Only adult mesenchymal stem cells are used. These cells are capable of forming bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, ligaments, blood vessels, and certain organs. Embryonic stem cells are associated with ethical considerations, increased risks and limitations.
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