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San Clemente Journal

The Stem Cell Revolution

Aug 25, 2016 09:30AM ● By Don Kindred

Dr. Hotosa Ebrahimzadeh and Dr. Ricardo Davalos

Recent discoveries in the field of Regenerative Medicine have led to a breakthrough that may well revolutionize how doctors treat human illness and disease. The treatment involves harvesting a patient’s adipose (fat) tissue from their own body, much like a mini-liposuction, then isolating the stem cells and deploying them through an IV drip and if needed,  direct injection into a specific joint. The results have been astonishing. 

Stay tuned for the Regenerative Stem Cell Revolution.

What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are basically virgin human cells. They can not only replicate, but they have the potential to form other cell types like cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons, nerve, muscle, and blood vessels.  Stem cells’ ability to form cartilage and bone makes them potentially highly effective in the treatment of degenerative orthopedic conditions. They appear particularly effective at improving painful joints, repairing cartilage, ligaments, even painful conditions of the spine. Ongoing studies have shown positive results in a number of cases involving heart disease, Muscular dystrophy, ALS and stroke. Stem cells may also be effective in the treatment of Macular Degeneration, Crohn’s disease, as well as pulmonary conditions like COPD, asthma and fibrosis.

Different Types of Stem Cells
Most people have heard the term “embryonic stem cell.” That was where the first experiments were focused. Because embryonic stem cells are taken from unborn or unwanted embryos, there has been considerable controversy surrounding their use. Also, while they have been used in some areas of medicine - particularly, outside the United States - they have also been associated with occasional tumor called teratomas .
Another kind of stem cell is the “adult stem cell.” This is a stem cell that already resides in one’s body within different tissues. Adult stem cells were originally collected from bone marrow. Bone marrow stem cells can be extracted, but because they are low in numbers, they generally need to be cultured for a couple of days in order to multiply the numbers for a successful injection. 
It turns out the fatty tissue in our bodies are also loaded with these virgin stem cells. In fact, up to 2500 times more stem cells than those found in bone marrow, lie dormant in the average American belly. This allows doctors to now extract these adipose derived stem cells with only local anesthesia, isolate the stem cells in a multistep process and redeploy them back into the body the same day, within a couple of hours. 
While the procedure is not approved by the FDA as yet, it falls under the category of ‘physician’s practice of medicine’, where the doctor and patient are free to consider their chosen course of treatment. The FDA does have guidelines about treatment and manipulation of a patient’s own tissues. 

Local Expert
Currently there are around 100 physicians practicing this protocol in the Unites States and only 4 doctors in Orange County. One of the practitioners is San Clemente’s Dr. Ricardo Davalos, of the Ocean Breeze Medical group on Avenida Cabrillo has recently formed the OC Advanced Stem Cell Treatment Center.


The following is my conversation with the Doctor.
First of all, what got you interested in stem cell therapy? It is still kind of fringe.
I became interested in Stem-cell therapy due to an illness in my family.  The best specialist in the country could not offer any therapeutic options. So, we had to look for solutions outside of current standard medical practices. We traveled aboard for what would be a very expensive stem cell treatment. When I heard about this new techniquein the USA, I wanted to learn more.  I wanted to help heal people instead of just treating their symptoms. I have since joined Cell Surgical Network (CSN) which is a group of over 100 physicians nationwide that use standard protocol in stem cell transplantation.  Over the last few years, our group has performed over 4,000 procedures.  CSN has developed a specific deployment protocol that attempts to utilize the regenerative properties of stromal vascular fraction (SVF), which is rich in mesenchymal stem cells and growth factors.  This is completed in an outpatient setting at the time of SVF harvesting and procurement. The entire cellular surgical procedure takes approximately three hours.  SEE image

What’s the difference between the stem cells 
from bone marrow versus fatty tissue?
Bone marrow sampling (a somewhat uncomfortable procedure) yields approximately 5,000 – 60,000 cells that are then cultured over several days to perhaps a few million cells prior to deployment (injection into the patient). Recent advances in stem cell science have made it possible to obtain high numbers of very excellent quality multi-potent (able to form numerous other tissues) stem cells from a person’s own liposuction tissue.  We uses technology to process this fat to yield approximately five hundred thousand to one million stem cells per cc of fat, and therefore, it is possible to obtain as many as 10  million cells from a single treatment. These adipose derived stem cells can differentiate into multiple cell lines including bone, cartilage, connective tissue, muscle, blood vessels, nerve tissue and others. 

What types of problems are you treating?
We should discuss areas of treatment by dividing them into organ systems.  Cardiopulmonary illnesses such as Cardiomyopathy, Congestive Heart Failure, Myocardial Infarcts (heart attacks), COPD, and Asthma have responded well.  Neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke recovery,  Neuropathy, Myasthenia Gravis have responded to stem cell transplant as these cells cross the blood brain barrier and help repair damaged tissue.   The Musculoskeletal System has the best access as the stem cells can be injected directly into the affected joint .  These Degenerative or Arthritic joint disorders include knees, shoulders, and ankles. Patients with Chronic Autoimmune Disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Crohn’s Disease have seen improvements as well but may require multiple deployments.  Ophthalmologic disorders such as Optic Neuritis, Macular Degeneration have been also helped with stem cells and hold great promise.  

Why do patients request stem cell treatment?
Many have been told that they require surgery or other risky treatments for their ailments and are looking for non-invasive options. Some have heard about the compelling testimonials about stem cells in the literature and on various websites.  CSN does not believe in claims or testimonials since our work is still investigational but we are a resource for patients who need access to regenerative care. CSN gives a choice to those informed patients who seek modern regenerative therapy but desire convenience, quality and affordability. CSN fills a need for those patients who have been told that they have to travel to different countries and pay as much as twenty to thirty thousand dollars for stem cell treatments off shore.

What does the cost of procedure include?
Because of recent innovations in technology, CSN is able to provide outpatient stem cell treatment at a fraction of the cost of that seen in many overseas clinics. Our fees cover Stromal Vascular Fraction SVF harvesting, preparation, and deployment.. Total costs will be determined after a medical evaluation.  

How many injections are required for success?
Most patients, especially those with orthopedic conditions, require only one deployment. Certain types of degenerative conditions, particularly auto-immune disease, may respond best to a series of stem cell deployments. The number and necessity of any additional treatments would be decided on a case by case basis. Financial consideration is given in these instances. b

OC Advanced Stem Cell Treatment Center
150 Avenida Cabrillo, Suite A, San Clemente, (949) 369.6993


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