Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of answers to common questions below. 

WHAT ARE STEM CELLS?
Stem cells are the basic building blocks of human tissue and have the ability to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate tissues in the body. When a baby is conceived, stem cells give rise to every cell and tissue in the body. These cells then remain within the body throughout a lifetime.

When a disease or injury strikes, stem cells respond to specific signals and set about to facilitate the healing process by differentiating into specialized cells required for the body’s repair. They release healing growth factors in response to a distress cell signal in an injured or pathologic area of the body.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS?
There is no guarantee of how fast results will be achieved, this because every patient and condition is unique. Most patients, however, report results within a few days. It may take as long as six to nine months in rare instances.
ARE THERE ANY KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS TO THE PROCEDURE?
Umbilical stem cells have a favorable immune status (immune-privileged) meaning they can be utilized without the risk of the patient rejecting them due to an immune response. There have also been no long-term negative side effects or risks reported. The side effects of umbilical cord stem cell therapies are rare and may include but are not limited to: infection, minor bleeding at the treatment site and localized pain. These side effects typically last no longer than 24 hours.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC NUMBERS OF CELLS NECESSARY TO TREAT DIFFERENT PROBLEMS?
Worldwide research over almost 2 decades has given us some effective parameters, however, exact numbers for peak efficacy is still unknown for many conditions. Research supports that more cells are often better and the body may utilize the extra cells in ways that may be beneficial in other regions of the body.
DO YOU NEED TO MIX/DILUTE THE UMBILICAL CELLS BEFORE INJECTION?
No dilution is required before injecting the cells directly into the desired area. We may choose to add Hyalgan if the cells are being deployed into a weight bearing joint. Hyalgan does not negatively affect the viability of the stem cells.
CAN I USE A LOCAL ANESTHETIC?
We rarely use local anesthetics because the pinch of the anesthetic stick is very similar to the pinch associated with the actual injection.
DOES CELL AGE MATTER?
Yes, age matters. In Vitro research by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has shown that while young, vibrant umbilical cord stem cells can duplicate themselves every 22-28 hours, for up to 65 generations or more, 50+ year old bone marrow aspirate and adipose derived stem cells duplicate at a much slower rate of 3 to 5 days for an average of only 11-13 generations. Also of note is that older cells undergo senescence (aging) at a much faster rate than young, vibrant umbilical cord cells and older senescent cells produce less quantities and less effective growth factors, proteins and cytokines. 
HOW DO UMBILICAL CORD STEM CELLS ACTUALLY WORK?
Upon placing the stem cells in an injured tissue environment, the stem cells naturally go to work inhibiting the damaging inflammatory components, while at the same time modulating the immune system. Concurrently, these cells produce growth factors that nourish damaged cells back to health and stimulate our own cells to regenerate themselves.
ARE UMBILICAL CELLS THE ONLY TYPE OF STEM CELL?
No. Stem cells can also be derived from bone marrow aspirate and adipose tissue.
ARE ALL STEM CELLS CREATED EQUAL?
No. umbilical cord stem cells are young, vibrant cells that have not been affected by age or disease. Whereas bone marrow aspirate and adipose derived stem cells are significantly older and potentially damaged by disease, a high number of replications throughout a lifetime, toxins like sunlight, alcohol, medications and smoking.  
ARE UMBILICAL STEM CELLS FROM ANOTHER PERSON SAFE TO PUT IN MY BODY?
Yes. Upon processing the umbilical cord, all the red blood cell components with the ability to cause a negative reaction are removed. Allogeneic (taken from another person of the same species) cells are safe to put in your body.
DO STEM CELLS CAUSE CANCER OR CAUSE CANCER TO GROW?
Not only do stem cells not grow or proliferate cancer, but they have in fact been classified as anti-tumorogenic. There is, in fact, multiple studies showing stem cells can actually fight cancer and stop the growth of cancer cells. Stem cells for the treatment of cancer is, however, unknown as of yet – although the research is ongoing.
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT FOR PATIENTS?
No. Any age patient can potentially benefit from stem cell therapy.
DO YOU EVER USE AN ABORTED FETUS?
No. We only use the umbilical cord from a live, healthy baby.
HOW ARE THE CELLS RECEIVED AND STORED?
The cells are received in dry ice in a sealed Styrofoam container and an outer cardboard box. The package arrives in less than 24 hours. Upon arrival, the cells are immediately transferred to our liquid nitrogen holding tank. They are stored in the vapor phase of the liquid nitrogen at – 180 to -192 degrees Celsius. The cells can be stored for years if necessary because there is little to no cellular metabolism at these extremely cold temperatures.
HOW ARE THE CELLS PROCESSED AND ARE THEY SAFE?
The umbilical cord is processed in the hospital according to the rules and regulations of the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Approximately 4 weeks prior to a scheduled caesarean section, the mother’s OB/GYN asks her if she would like to keep and store her unborn child’s umbilical cord for future use. If the mother declines, she is asked if she would like to donate the umbilical cord. If she agrees, she undergoes a review of her medical history, social history, and a blood test. If she is deemed an acceptable donor according to prevailing rules of the AATB, then, at the time of her caesarean section, an experienced technician will clamp the umbilical cord, take it to a sterile room, and remove the contents of the umbilical cord and place it into a blood bag. The bag of umbilical cord blood is then delivered to the lab for processing. Once at the lab, a sample of the umbilical cord blood is sent to a 3rd party independent FDA registered lab for testing according to United States Pharmacopoeia rule 71 (U.S.P. 71), which is a test for all known communicable diseases. While that test is taking place, the stem cells are then processed and removed from the red blood cell products. A sample of the finished stem cell product is then sent to a different 3rd party independent FDA registered lab for sterility testing and for the absence of HLA-DR markers. Only after both lab reports come back as “clean” and the stem cells have passed the regulatory requirements, are the processed umbilical cord stem cells available for distribution.
DO YOU USE MY OWN CELLS?
No. We use human umbilical stem cells harvested via AATB protocol. Published research reveals stem cells from the umbilical cord replicate faster and replicate for many more generations than other types of stem cells. Umbilical cord stem cells also have a higher level of pluripotency than mature adult stem cells helping the body regenerate lost tissue like cartilage, muscle and soft tissue faster and more effectively.
WILL I HAVE TO MISS WORK OR ACTIVITIES?
The majority of patients require no downtime or change in their usual activity level. Some patients with a physical demanding vocation or that participate in a sport that is damaging to the tissue being treated may have to refrain from those activities for 4-6 weeks.
WILL I NEED PHYSICAL REHABILITATION?
When treating orthopedic issues, a physical therapy regimen is always helpful. This can be a home program or a program under the supervision of a provider that specializes in physical rehabilitation. 
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TREATMENT?
For most conditions we anticipate the patient requiring only one treatment if no new injury traumatizes the joint following treatment.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The costs vary as treatments are condition specific and patient specific. This because the cost is determined by the number of stem cells deployed. Most patients are treated for less than the cost of braces for teeth or Lasik surgery for vision. Treatments for smaller joints like ankles or wrists can be treated for as little as $3500. Larger joints require more cells so the cost increases.
DOES MY INSURANCE COVER STEM CELL THERAPY?
Stem cell therapy is not yet FDA approved, and therefore the procedure is currently not covered by insurance. We anticipate an expedited approval that will happen in 3-5 years but no one knows for sure how long it will take. It will likely come in segmental approvals for certain conditions as the human trial evidence mounts. Currently, the only FDA approved therapy is umbilical cord stem cells for a very specific cancer.  Currently we follow FDA guidelines and regulations set forth by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) regarding our handling and delivery of stem cells to patients.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I’M A CANDIDATE?
Our specialists will schedule a consultation to determine the likelihood of success for your case. This will include an evaluation, medical records review and review of any radiographic studies.