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Don’t be Duped! Avoid These 5 “Information Traps” in the Stem Cell Industry

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Couple Questions...

  • Are you a desperate patient looking for a cure all?
  • Are you at the mercy of your doctor who insists that “stem cell therapy will not help you,” but is unable to provide effective alternatives?
  • Is your doctor encouraging more medications that will only cause more side effects, and simply act as a band aid for your ailment?
  • Are you caught between a rock and a hard place?

With so much misleading information out there, it’s no surprise that patients are confused about which way to proceed. 

GIOSTAR Chicago believes that patients should be armed with education about all options to improve their health and wellness, including stem cell therapy. In this post, we examine five common ways that patients can get fooled about stem cell therapy.

Trap #1: "It will not work. Don’t waste your time and money."

A patient suffering from diabetes, multiple sclerosis and numerous other disorders typically pursues multiple avenues in search of a remedy: Websites such as WebMD; social media resources (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube); conversations with their friends and family.

Ultimately, however, they must consult their doctor for clinical expertise and recommendations on the appropriate course of action. Most physicians have unfortunately been trained only to prescribe medication, perform surgery, or engage in other activities of traditional medicine that comprise their bread and butter. As such, they have a very narrow view of therapeutic approaches, and blindly question the legitimacy of regenerative medicine.

The combination of arrogance and ignorance is a dangerous one, that deprives patients of the benefits offered by the latest advancements in medicine.

I recently spoke with a physician who peppered me with questions such as “if stem cell therapy is so effective, then why are there no clinical trials to support it?” He conveniently changed the subject when I informed him about the more than 4,600 clinical trials that have been conducted worldwide within the discipline of regenerative medicine.

Trap #2: "We offer 100 million cells to our patients. You will not find this quantity of cells anywhere else."

The “bigger is not necessarily better” adage holds specific credence within the field of patient care, as illustrated by several analogous examples:

Medication. Few neurologists (hopefully) would prescribe their patient a double dose of medication for Parkinson’s disease, with the promise that this will ensure a more effective outcome. Both doctors and patients know that the dosage amount depends on the patient’s height, weight, existing medications, age, and myriad other factors.

Vitamins. The American Osteopathic Association notes that nearly 90% of American adults take vitamins or supplements. They must closely monitor the quantity of their vitamin intake, given the processing limitations of human biology. If a patient ingests an excess quantity of vitamins at once, their body will export in the form of waste. 

Many Americans fail to grasp that these basic, universal concepts hold true for stem cell therapy as well. Numerous studies by GIOSTAR Co-Founder Dr. Anand Srivastava have proved that the human body can only hold 30 million stem cells at a time. Hence, when a patient is administered 100 million stem cells, their body will dispose the 70 million excess cells as human waste. 

Medication is not always the answer

Equally concerning, many patients fail to realize that quantity is not always synonymous with quality. Studies by highly regarded regenerative medicine researchers such as Lisa Fortier and Marianne Secco have demonstrated that many cheaper products (i.e., umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, placentas) do not even contain pure mesenchymal stem cells.

As we’ve noted previously, GIOSTAR Chicago firmly believes effective patient care must be personalized. Similarly, stem cell therapy is not a “one size fits all” discipline: specific treatment protocols must be tailored to the patient’s height, weight, condition, and numerous other factors assessed through a rigorous clinical review process.

Dr. Michael Gellis, GIOSTAR Chicago’s world-renowned plastic surgeon, closely reviews the information that prospective patients provide through our medical history form. If he feels that we cannot help them, we have a moral and ethical obligation to turn them away (hopeful that they don’t get swindled by another facility).

Trap #3: "Our treatment is the only treatment that works."

Many providers are eager to position themselves as the “undisputed heavyweight” in the highly competitive field of stem cell therapy. It’s virtually impossible for a clinic to claim to have they have the “best” treatment, given the ever-evolving nature of regenerative medicine. 

At the Salk Institute, University of California San Diego, and numerous other leading institutions, researchers are continuously devising new protocols to continue the advancements in this field.  GIOSTAR Chicago is extremely proud of the patients we’ve helped, leveraging the pioneering research of Dr. Anand Srivastava – regarded by many as the father of regenerative medicine. Our results have been featured in Forbes magazine, BioInformant, and numerous other leading publications. However, we realize that there are hordes of scientists around the world introducing improvements and innovations to this discipline of health care. It’s a team effort; who says you can change the world by yourself?

Trap #4: "Intravenous administration of stem cells is useless; why not just inject them into the affected area(s)?"

Inflammation is at the core of all degenerative disorders. It causes deterioration, and inhibits regeneration of tissues, organs, and other parts of the body. In Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, for instance, inflammation prevents the cells of the central nervous system from functioning. 

Similarly, patients afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis experience suffer from damaged cartilage as a result of inflammation of the lining within their joints.

Regardless of the disorder, reducing inflammation should be the first objective in any course of stem cell therapy – much like a strong foundation must be put in before the construction of a house.

In the case of arthritis, for instance, bypassing this stem and injecting stem cells directly into the knee “out of the gate” will have little benefit; it is analogous to trying to rebuild a war torn city while the bombing continues unabated.

This is why – regardless of the disorder – all procedures at GIOSTAR Chicago involve an intravenous administration of stem cells. Multiple other options are available to reduce inflammation as well, including Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Celoxib. Although GIOSTAR Chicago generally advises against medication, research has demonstrated that this particular drug has proven effective in improving the survival of stem cells and the overall healing process.

Trap #5: "All You Need Is Stem Cells"*

A center that promises to “cure” your disease should be avoided – with a ten foot pole.

Regenerative medicine may help alleviate symptomatic relief for victims of numerous degenerative conditions. However, it is not a “just add water” exercise: if after receiving a treatment, a patient follows up with a regimen of Ruffles potato chips, a six pack of beer, and hours in front of the TV, they are unlikely to reap much benefit from the procedure.

To maximize the efficacy of stem cell therapy, a patient must take a holistic approach involving: regular exercise, vitamin therapy, a well-balanced diet, and collaboration with their physician to make other lifestyle improvements. Even with these steps, however, individuals must resist the temptation to view stem cell therapy as a miraculous “silver bullet” or panacea.

*With apologies to The Beatles

Get the Full Picture

GIOSTAR is proud to be a leader in the field of regenerative medicine, as it offers patients a safe and natural alternative for managing their lifestyle. As with any disruptive new discipline, however, there is a great deal of hype – both positive and negative. Every day we speak with patients who have received misleading (or blatantly false) information that paints an overly gloomy or rosy picture of stem cell therapy. Our goal is to provide them with a balanced, thoughtful perspective, and allow them to make the right decision. We invite you to complete a medical history form today and speak with one of our patient outreach specialists to learn more.

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