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Cell Therapy and Orthobiologics Explained

Our professors, consultants and doctors are experts in the use of stem cells in therapies and treatments. The following content has been created by them to give a broad overview about stem cells, their purpose and potential uses.

At The Regenerative Clinic we exclusively offer our patients AMPP® injections. A pioneering new treatment using your body’s own stem cells from a combination of Lipogems® and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to treat pain and inflammation. The minimally invasive procedure is a possible alternative to having an operation or can be used after surgery to help healing. It harnesses natural repair cells removed from your body fat to target problems affecting discs, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. The procedure takes around an hour and early results suggest an improvement for 75 per cent of suitable patients.

This treatment contains concentrated blood plasma PRP/PRGF, as well as adipose-based pericytes harvested with Lipogems®. Theoretically AMPP® is superior in regeneration and healing. You may have AMPP® in conjunction with the treatment of other joints, the results of which have been very positive.

Read Francine’s story who had Lipogems® treatment in her lower back and neck. Her back is now perfectly strong and her life has changed completely.

Common questions:

● What are Stem Cells?

● What are embryonic and adult Stem Cells?

● What are minimally manipulated and manipulated Stem Cells?

● Where are adult Stem Cells found?

● How do Stem Cells work?

● What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

● What are the common misconceptions with using Stem Cells?

● What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and how does it differ to Stem Cell Therapy?

What are Stem Cells?

The human body is made of a variety of different types of cells that come together to perform various functions. In comparison, this is much like a city. In order for the city to function there are groups of people that perform different tasks. Policeman keep the peace, cleaners keep the streets clean, water work engineers make sure that households have water and healthcare professionals look after the sick. Different groups of cells in the body perform functions in much the same way. The kidneys filter and clean the blood, the muscles allow us to move our bodies and our skeleton has a support function which works in synergy with the muscles to allow us to move.

Similar to how individuals can be trained into different professionals, stem cells are groups of cells that have the potential to become any of the specialist cells in the body such as muscle, skin, bone, cartilage and blood. 

What are embryonic and adult Stem Cells?

Embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem cells are derived from the undifferentiated inner mass of an embryo. They are able to multiply and grow into a human being when in the womb.

The use of embryonic stem cells for medical treatment is currently against the legislation. They are under very strict conditions with scientists being able to study them but not use them in any treatments unless part of a research study.

Pain in other parts of the body, particularly the lower back, can also cause pain to appear in your hip – this is known as referred pain.

Adult stem cells

Adult stem cells are found in the fully-grown human and have potential to differentiate into various tissues such as nerves, muscles, bone and cartilage.

These cells are less versatile than embryonic stem cells but can divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.

What are minimally-manipulated and manipulated Stem Cells?

Adult stem cells can either be minimally-manipulated or manipulated.

Minimally-manipulated stem cells

Adult stem cells can be harvested from parts of the body which can be rich in these cells. These tissues include bone marrow and fat. Once removed they are then processed in a very minimal way before being used for treatment. This tends to mean that the cells are not cultured or altered in a laboratory before being used for treatment.

Minimally-manipulated stem cells are termed as such because they maintain the normal architecture of the body tissue that they have been retrieved from but are not subject to the same rules.  

Manipulated stem cells

These cells are harvested in the same way however following removal from the body the stem cells are separated in a laboratory. These cells are then grown and multiplied under strict laboratory conditions before being used in a separate procedure for treatment. This process of manipulating stem cells is not allowed by legislation both in the UK and the European Union if they are being used for treatment. These techniques are allowed by the government for scientists to study and are occasionally used under very strict regulations in research studies run by various Universities.

Prof Dr Philip Schoettle talks to the Regenerative Clinic about his uses of manipulated stem cells

Prof Dr Philip B. Schoettle, MD, currently treats patients at his private institute for orthopedics, sports injuries, and cell therapy in Munich, Germany; he also sees our patients on a scheduled basis in London at the Queen Anne Street Medical Centre in Marylebone. He is a cell therapy surgeon and orthopedic specialist at Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine. Prof. Schoettle is a strong proponent of regenerative medicine and adjunctive approaches to surgical treatment of the knees, shoulders and other joints. An expert in reconstructive knee surgery, Prof. Schoettle’s depth of knowledge extends to general orthopedic treatments combined with state-of-the-art medical technologies and novel therapeutics.

How do Stem Cells work?

There are a number of ways that stem cells can work. In the laboratory, using very complex techniques, stem cells can become different kinds of tissue cells such as bone or cartilage. They are placed on scaffolds and then placed inside the diseased parts of the body to try regenerate these areas. This technique has been performed for the past twenty years and scientists have found varying degrees of success when trying to treat numerous diseases including arthritis.

More recently, scientists have realised that stem cells do not necessarily turn into a variety of different cells types within the body but it maybe that they act as marshals in guiding the regenerative process within the tissues that are injured. The stem cells work by secreting a variety of chemicals that act in the injured tissues. These chemicals help in the clean up of the damaged tissues and then work to recruit the undamaged parts of the same tissue to start regenerating and replacing what has been lost. 

What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)?

Mesenchymal cells are a subgroup of stem cells. They are only capable of making a certain type of tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle and fat.

Here are some terms used in relation to stem cells and their meaning:

● Self-renewal: a stem cells ability to divide and produce copies of itself for an indefinite period of time

● Totipotent: a cell able to form an entire organism. When an egg is fertilised, it is called a zygote.

● Pluripotent: a cell able to form every type of organ and tissue in the body. An example of this is embryonic stem cells.

● Multipotent: a cell able to form some but not all of the organs in the body. For example, haematopoietic (blood) stem cells which are found in the bone marrow are only able to form the cells that make up our blood. MSCs can form all cells from the mesenchyme that include carilage, bone, muscle and fat.

● Differentiation: the process by which stem cells become specialised into specific tissues to perform particular tasks. An example is when a MSC differentiates to cartilage cells which is essential for healthy joints.

What are the misconceptions with using Stem Cells?

There are many misconceptions around the use of stem cells. Below are two main examples.

1. That embryos and foetuses are destroyed in order to provide stem cell treatments

This is clearly not the case as the use of embryonic stem cells is illegal in both the United Kingdom and in Europe. The stem cells that are used for treatments are from an adult which are harvested from the same individual that is being treated.

2. That stem cells can cure absolutely everything

This is certainly not the case as with any treatment modality, there are failures. In most orthopaedic treatments anywhere between 5-30% of individuals having a surgical procedure end up not having the full benefits that the surgical procedure intends. It is the same with a variety of non-surgical treatments including physiotherapy, manual therapy, injections of various compounds including steroids and of course, stem cell treatments.

What is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and how does it differ to Stem Cell therapy?

What is Platelet Rich Plasma therapy? Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is derived from the blood. Blood has two main components, the fluid (the plasma) and the cells. The Red Blood Cells transport oxygen and the white blood cells are part of the immune system. The blood is taken from a vein in the arm and placed inside a centrifuge to spin the blood. Spinning separates the red and the white blood cells from the plasma which is in the fluid portion of the blood. Within the plasma there are tiny fragments called platelets, which along with the plasma, form clots. The clots are usually formed where the body is injured and within these clots are various chemicals and compounds that are integral to the healing process. PRP has been used for over 20 years to treat a variety of conditions including inflammation around tendons as well as arthritis in joints.

How does it differ to Stem Cells therapy?

PRP includes a number of compounds that the body uses for the healing process. It is thought that MSCs are the factories that produce these compounds. The difference is between the battery and the generator. The PRP is much like a battery which is pre-loaded with a certain amount of electricity, whereas, a generator (stem cell) can go on to generate as much electricity as is required. The cells are the factories which produce the compounds used for the healing process in great variety and amount.

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