One of the most frequent misconceptions encountered in the field of regenerative medicine is to think of PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapies as the equivalent or the same as Stem Cell Treatments. In this blog post I will go over the differences between PRP Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy.
Popular news shows like to start with something sensational or frightening in order to keep their audience tuned in. The need to do this is so entrenched with them that, in the absence of any current scandal, they’ll happily recycle earlier work and present it as if it had just happened.
Such was the case with a news program in the USA.
One of the most troublesome words in regenerative medicine is “cure”. Pill-pushers and regulatory bureaucrats warn darkly than any practitioner in the field who would dare to use that word is guilty of fraud. And yet, more often than not, the word is used by patients whose treatments were successful.
To be fair, regenerative medicine does not cure any disease – it can only potentiate the body to heal itself by regenerating damaged cells.
Lately, we’ve noticed that some of the clinics that limit themselves to liposuction for their stem cells have been disparaging bone marrow as a reliable source – they’re calling it “old-fashioned”. Don’t they see the fallacy in their reasoning? There’s nothing old-fashioned about our bone-marrow protocols. A medical technique younger than the Internet can hardly qualify as old in any sense.
The short answer is that we still don’t know.
In saying that, ProgenCell takes a very conservative approach to the meaning of “cure”. We generally use the terms “treatment” and “therapy” to describe our work. When stem cell therapy is successful, all it really does is to help the patient’s body heal itself.
People who remember the cancer scares from the 1950s to the ’70s avoid diagnosticians because they don’t want to be told they have a fatal, incurable disease. The kindly doctors in the soap operas and Hollywood movies of that era were forever summoning up the courage to deliver the death sentence, and the people who remember those scenes would just as soon not be on the receiving end in real life.
We believe they’re for patients who want to get well.
The most famous precursor to modern stem cell therapy was pioneered by Dr. E. Donnall Thomas in 1956, when he treated a case of juvenile leukemia by completely replacing the child’s bone marrow. His risky, painful, and complex experiment immediately became associated with children and leukemia.
In adults, stem cells are created in the bone marrow and then distributed to the rest of the body through the blood system. It stands to reason that stem cells might be harvested from either location, but there is an important difference both in quantity and in quality between the stem cells found at the source and those found on the periphery of the body.
Luis Romero Guerra, M.D., the president of the ProgenCell ethics committee, and Norma Niño Sulkowska, M.D., ProgenCell’s staff ophthalmologist, were invited by Tijuana Innovadora to present “Vanguard of Medicine: Stem Cells in Ophthalmology” on 16 October 2012. By way of introduction, they were praised as stem cell pioneers by Patricia Aubanel, M.D., the cardiologist who achieved international recognition when she saved Mother Teresa’s life with an experimental stent.
Barely twelve months ago, the University of California San Diego opened their $127,000,000 stem cell research center to a blitz of media hoopla. And yet, just a few miles down the road, ProgenCell had already spent more than a decade quietly bringing stem cells to patients who need them. What might explain such a contrast?