Recently, after conducting an autologous stem cell transplant on the arthritic knee of an elderly patient (Raquel R), I started to have an interesting conversation with some of her family members gathered at the recuperating room. Everyone was utterly amazed on how quickly and painlessly the entire procedure had been completed and how well Raquel was doing. But suddenly, the conversation took an even more interesting twist.
For years, this family had been desperately looking for a valuable option to help Raquel with her overwhelming knee pain. Unfortunately, her medical options were very limited, mostly due to her illness and her inability to be able to undergo an invasive surgery and also to be exposed to the danger of general anesthesia.
This week, I would like to comment on an article initially published by the prestigious BMJ (Spanish Journal of Muscles and Bones) in English and also recently in Spanish (by El Nuevo Herald) discussing the controversial topic about the inefficiency of arthroscopy surgery.
Arthroscopy is a very popular operation that attempts to repair the meniscus and damaged cartilage through small incisions with the assistance of a video camera. It is performed more than 700,000 times a year, mostly in the knee. However, about 15 recent medical studies (conducted on more than 1,700 patients) show that the operation does not provide relief or improve joint function and furthermore, shows multiple complications such as infections, which can be very serious. All this at the astronomical cost of more than 3 billion dollars!
About 14 years ago, I started working in the field of what is now known as Regenerative Medicine or Ortho-Biological Medicine. In these 14 years, I pleasantly observed how the field has developed and also how the treatments are becoming more and more successful, but this level of success is only guaranteed based on the actual quality of the product being used.
Using top quality Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as well as the Autologous Stem Cells obtained for the treatment is of utmost importance for the overall effectiveness of the treatment. Our StemCell Miami institute has had so much success over the years, strictly because we always strive to provide our patients with the best quality autologous Ortho-Biological products. For example, we have our Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) which is extracted from one’s own blood with a special process and used in cases of chronic inflammations in tendons and bursae (either in the shoulder, hip, knee or foot). As long as the PRP is double-spun on a special PRP machine (like ours), you have a 90% chance of improvement.
The ligamentization process is frustrating because it is an unseen rate limiting step in an athlete’s recovery. Some athletes regain motion, strength, and proprioception at the six-month mark and appear outwardly healed, but the level of ligamentization of their graft is unknown and therefore a return to sport can jeopardize their recovery. For this reason, it is ideal to allow athletes recovering from ACL reconstruction as much time for rehabilitation as logistically possible, assuming it doesn’t jeopardize their return to sport timeline. Many instances of ACL reconstruction failure can be attributed to a failure of graft incorporation and/or the ligamentization process, so giving the athlete adequate time for recovery is best.
Recently, I experienced one of those days that made me feel very proud about the use of stem cells. It would have been accurately described as “a perfect game”, just like my friend, stem cell patient, and famous baseball player Tony “Tany” Perez, often would say.
Of the 12 patients I examined yesterday (6 weeks after the implantation of their stem cells and as required by our protocol), all of them responded extremely positively to their treatments and none of them had any reported adverse side-effects. I reiterate (as I have done numerous times in the past) that these amazing results are somewhat unusual and basically unparalleled, even when compared to modern medicine standards.
Like I have consistently mentioned on many of my previous articles, the unlimited capacities of autologous stem cells and platelets never ceases to amaze me.
While at our StemCell Miami Institute (one of the few in the world) we specialize in treating orthopedic related illnesses like: osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, shoulder and issues related to the spine, there are times when we also try to help patients in need of treatments that are outside of the “true realm” of our medical specialty. Such is the case with Denisse, a close family friend and owner of a busy Nicaraguan restaurant in the city of Doral, where she unfortunately poured (by accident) a pot of hot oil all over the back of her legs, causing her a painful second degree type burn.
In my opinion, one of the hardest things to accept is a new type of medical treatment, particularly when it changes the philosophy, parameters and overall results that we are expecting and basically used to receiving. Stem cells are undoubtedly, no exception to this rule.
About 6 weeks ago, Eduardo K (a Cuban doctor with a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburg in internal medicine and nephrology), brought his wife Maria to our institute, in order to assess the possibility of using stem cells to cure the severe chronic pain in her ankle. A pain so severe, that it was basically hindering her ability to walk and Dr. K also expressed his extreme hesitation & concerns about having his wife be involved in an invasive ankle surgery at this stage of her adult life.
In 1991, a frozen man was found in the Swiss Alps, conserved almost completely intact, for over 5000 years! They gave him the name: Ötzi and until today, he retains the honor of being “the most studied human” in history. Mostly because scientists have conducted numerous studies on him over the years (including: hundreds of X-rays, DNA tests & CT scans etc.) in order to find out his overall lifestyle, learn more about the foods that he ate and even what ailments he suffered back in the Stone Age.
The copious studies reflected that this ancient “Ice Man” must have been around 46 years old, was about 1.50 cm tall and ate a diet rich in red meats. In addition, they found that he suffered from lumbar spine issues and also (it was speculated) that he must have suffered from strenuous pains in his knees and spine.
Recently, the New York Times published an article about three women that apparently had lost their vision after receiving a Stem Cell transplant in a clinic operating in the United States. A faithful reader of my weekly newspaper column, wrote to me about this concerning issue (Vivien R) and asked for my opinion on the matter, since she had also seen a TV newscast that discussed this rather unfortunate situation. There are several important key aspects pertaining to this issue that I would like to share with you and particularly with Vivien, many of which were not clearly addressed in the NY Times article.
The newspaper article stated that an ophthalmologist from the prestigious Bascom Palmer Institute, testified that (after examining the patient’s retinas) they appeared to all reflect an “excessive cell growth”, and thus, he stated that (in his medical opinion) this “abnormal growth” was the probable cause for these patients to have unfortunately lost their eyesight.
In the almost 3500 cases that I have conducted on knees, hips, shoulders and spine in the last 14 years, I have never found an “excessive cell growth” in any of my patients. My medical philosophy and the FDA’s recommendation of using “minimal manipulation” would not produce such abnormal cell growth, since the patient’s own body would automatically control for that sort of abnormality not to happen.
However, only when cells are being cultivated, is when you could have the possibility of such unstoppable / abnormal cell growth occurring. Unfortunately, we can only speculate at this point about what truly transpired in these cases, since the article did not provide sufficient information about the level of manipulation used on any of these procedures and/or if these stem cells were actually cultivated or not, in the three particular procedures mentioned. The NY Times article also stated that the injection / procedure had been conducted by a “Nurse Practitioner” and not by a medical doctor certified to practice medicine in the United States.
With more than 30 years of experience as a doctor, in addition to possessing a Master’s degree and two medical specialties, I am considered as one of the true pioneers that spearheaded using stem cells, as a valid alternative to cure pain. Note that in our StemCell Miami institute, 100% of the stem cell transplants are solely performed by me personally, although I am very fortunate to also possess a top-notch medical team by my side, which assists me with each procedure.
Up to date, we have performed countless successful procedures without having one single negative effect in any of our patients. I think I can recall possibly only a handful (or less) of my patients that did not improve (significantly) after their procedures, in comparison to the thousands of patients that are extremely happy with their results and the tremendous improvements in their overall quality of life. I am personally very conservative as a medical professional and would rather not experiment, even if I am only slightly unsure of the outcome that we would obtain. Furthermore, the safety of our patents is always our number one priority and is of utmost importance with every procedure that we conduct at our StemCell Miami Institute.
While other institutions throughout the world, do perform riskier procedures (that include using animal cells, as well as placenta and embryonic derived cells etc.), we would like to strongly reiterate that at our institute, we only perform procedures using the patient’s own (autologous) adult stem cells.
So in conclusion, the moral of this story is that you must be very careful about where you go and who performs a stem cell transplant procedure on you or your loved ones. Please don’t believe everything you see or hear! I highly recommend for you to also conduct a thorough investigation / research and examine the credentials of the doctor & clinic where you are getting these treatments done, before you decide to move forward with them…so please, I urge you investigate first!!!
So if you, a family member, or friend needs to be evaluated to find out if Stem cell treatments are a viable option, please call us at (305) 598-7777. Remember that by mentioning this article the first consultation is free. If you want to contact the doctor directly, please do so via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information visit our website: www.stemcellmia.com or follow us on our Facebook Page & Twitter @StemCellMia or you can also watch our amazing testimonial videos on our YouTube channel.
Respuesta del Dr. Ramon Castellanos De StemCell Miami sobre la reciente polémica suscitada por un artículo publicado en el periódico The New York Times:
Recientemente, el New York Times publicó un artículo sobre 3 mujeres que aparentemente habían quedado ciegas después de recibir un tratamiento de células madre, en una clínica operada en los Estados Unidos. Una asidua lectora de esta columna (Vivien R.) me escribió preguntando mi opinión, después de ver un programa en la televisión sobre el tema. Hay varios aspectos importantes que quisiera compartir con ustedes y con Vivien, los cuales no aparecen reflejados en el artículo del NY Times.
Según el artículo, un oftalmólogo del prestigioso Instituto Bascom Palmer, testificó que (después de examinar la retina de los pacientes) aparentaba haber “un crecimiento excesivo de células” los cuales causaron (en su opinión) que las pacientes perdieran la visión.