The Promise and Dangers of Stem Cell Therapy
Stem Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine is a very exciting and emerging field of medical science for patients. It provides an alternative option to traditional treatments or before surgical procedures are performed or recommended. The US has now caught up and is becoming a leader in these most innovative medical procedures. As a result, doctors now have the opportunity to make a real difference in improving chronic disease whether it be systemic, orthopedic, autoimmune or neurologic using patients’ own healing and regenerative powers.
Using regenerative medicine and stemcell based products such as Amniotic Fluid, Exosomes, Wharton’s Jelly, and or patient-derived Bone Marrow Aspirate, or Adipose-Derived stem cells, doctors are seeing tremendous improvements for patients with chronic health issues.
Medical Doctors who started their training in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells years ago have seen first hand the life-changing effects that these treatments are having on their patients. Whereas traditional medicine has certain and specific limitations along with a higher cost.
As great as these new regenerative medicines and stem cell treatments have proven to be, we are now seeing many non-qualified persons without proper training or education seeking to profit from those suffering from various painful conditions. These profiteers seem to target the elderly and others by blanketing their local markets with ads and social media post promising miracle cures.
Unfortunately, there are a high number of Chiropractors who are now caught up in giving patients misinformation to generate profits. Some have gone so far as to suggest that amniotic fluid contains stem cells which scientifically is just not true or accurate.
Let there be no mistake, the field of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy do require specialized training, education, and skill. It is not a matter of just simply injecting solutions into patient’s joints or pain sites and having a miracle occur. The proper injection is paramount in getting positive results. Follow up care is also needed and a medical treatment plan is required to ensure patients have the best possible outcomes.
Below is a list of medical practitioners who are most likely educated, skilled, and or trained to perform certain stem cell-based procedures:
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctors
Interventional Spine and Sports Doctors
Sports Medicine Fellowship Trained Doctors
Pain Management Doctors
Cardiac or Thoracic Surgeons
Other Surgical Specialities
Prospective patients should know, Chiropractors, Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistant are not likely trained or licensed to perform stem cell treatments or injections.
In many cases, some of the above-listed providers are misinformed about what they are actually promoting as patient care. Only using what are called homologous treatments such as Amniotic Fluid because they cannot obtain the living cells from the patient directly using a sound medical process like Bone Marrow extraction or adipose-derived stem cells.
We are also learning, that fees for some of their listed treatments and services are charged at 2-3 times more for certain procedures that fall outside of the scope of what is usual and customary for say a joint injection for knees, elbow, ankle or back.
Many recent patient complaints are confirming the FDA’s worst fears and creating a bad impression related to regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments.
Patients are reporting that some Chiropractors are using non-specialized doctors and contracting them as a Medical Director so that they can carry out the process of selling services. In some cases, they are not really interested in helping the patients but are more interested in making profits. Using misinformation and profiteering seems to be the trick of their trade.
Their patients are not seeing the results that were promised and become disillusioned with stem cell therapy as an option, which can create a significant and ongoing change in this emerging field. This is a huge detriment and gives a bad name to the Field of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy.
As a doctor, Dr. Cherukupally of Regenerative Sports Spine and Spa has dedicated well over 19 years in the field of Interventional Spine and Sports Medicine, Non-Surgical Orthopedics, as well as an additional four to five years of training in Regenerative Medicine. Most recently, she completed an advanced training program through Boston BioLife one of the premier Hands-On Training organizations for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Training. She has yet to come across a Chiropractor, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant that is actually trained to do any joint injection procedures or spine procedures. And most are learning through patient trial and error, if at all.
We hope that all patients who are researching these treatments pay more attention to who is doing the procedure and what they are injecting. By so doing they will avoid the nightmare of being given a bad treatment protocol or at its worst make a bad health situation become a crisis.
( We have listed only a few resource materials in this brief article, but there is plenty available online. )