Stem cells are precursor cells designed to be stimulated by the body’s need to heal and revitalize aging or damaged tissue. Distributed throughout our bodies, stem cells reside in a resting state, awaiting signals to “awaken” and begin the process of tissue regeneration. These unique cells send signals to nearby tissues to reduce inflammation, promote healing and repair tissue. We naturally use these cells throughout our lives to replenish damaged areas and keep ourselves functioning properly. Stem cells are also capable of “turning into” tissues of various types when the body sends out biochemical messages. Their role in our health is to aid in the regeneration and growth of damaged or aging structures. They serve this function throughout our lives.
Adult stem cells are distributed throughout the body tissues in relatively modest numbers. We are now able to collect these cells and concentrate them into large numbers, which allow us to administer stem cells directly into tissues in need of repair.
Infusion of one’s own (“autologous”) stem cells is often used in certain cancer patients to successfully regenerate bone marrow blood and immune cells after chemotherapy has been administered.
Many newer applications of stem cell therapies are emerging for the treatment of a number of conditions. At Integrative Rheumatology of Westchester, we offer stem cell therapy for the treatment of arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. We are enrolled in an IRB and FDA-approved clinical research program, affiliated with the Cell Surgical Network using standard protocols registered with CDC.gov.
Our process involves harvesting cells from the “stromal vascular fraction” of adipose tissue in order to deliver the cells throughout the body (systemically) or locally to affected tissue. The stromal vascular fraction contains numerous cell types, including mesenchymal stem cells, immunomodulatory, and tissue progenitor cells. This gives the patient the opportunity to use their own cells, now optimally directed, to heal a damaged body part or organ system. Many patients who are facing the possibility of surgery, including joint replacements may be candidates for Stem Cell joint therapy as a surgical alternative.