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Stem Cell Therapy as a New Regenerative Medicine: A New Hope – Seeing and Experiencing is Believing?

By Simon Yu, MD

I saw my good friend Dr. R.B., an elderly medical doctor from Ohio at the International College of Integrative Medicine (ICIM) conference this fall, and noticed he seems to have more youthful enthusiasm. At dinner, he described how he volunteered for stem cell therapy thru nasal injection at the previous ICIM meeting with Dr. A. Farshchian, MD from Miami. He said that stem cell therapy changed his outlook of his life, and his medical practice.

R.B. felt younger within a few days, and noticed that he was driving like when he was younger on returning from that conference. He felt mentally sharp, with more sensory awareness of the environment, and improved coordination. Without realizing it, he was speeding! He told me he had been feeling run down and tired of seeing sick patients all day, and was thinking about retiring. Since he had stem cell injection by Dr. A. Farshchian, MD., his energy and enthusiasm had returned and he was able to help many patients with all kinds of chronic degenerative conditions by incorporating stem cell therapy as a part of Regenerative Medicine. He said that practicing medicine became more fun again.

Due to popular demand, Dr. Farshchian came back again for another lecture on stem cell therapy. Due to the rules and regulation of the hotel, no injections were done as a part of a demonstration. I was eager to volunteer for stem cell injections, but had to wait for his official stem cell injection training in Miami.
So, what is stem cell therapy? Is it safe? Cell therapy has been around for over 100 years using sheep embryonic cells (Xenograft). I have been to the clinic in Germany for observation 10 years ago. It was Silence of the Lambs in “reality-distorted” space and time, a beautiful setting in the countryside. For over 30 years, bone marrow stem cells have been used to treat people with leukemia and lymphoma. In the last two decades, there has been an acceleration of stem cell usage, not only from harvesting bone marrow and adipose fat cells but also utilizing umbilical cords.

Stem cells can be autologous (your own cells), allograft (other than your own cells), or xenograft (non-human derived tissue or stem cells like from a sheep). It is also separate and distinct from human embryonic cells (not legal in the US and considered unethical) or derived from umbilical cord cells from post-birth placenta from a healthy pregnancy. In the US, umbilical cord-derived stem cells are considered ethical for medical applications. The FDA has approved five hematopoietic stem cell products derived from umbilical cord blood for the treatment of blood and immunological disease, and uses for other indications are constantly evolving.

The potential for using stem cell therapy as a new regenerative medicine is almost unlimited. Many physicians and clinics has been using it for sports injury, ligament damage, osteoarthritis, neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, learning disorder, post heart attack, wound healing, dental-tooth restoration, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, blindness, deafness and even baldness.

Stem cells are thought to mediate via five primary mechanisms: 1) provide anti-inflammatory effects, 2) homing to the damaged tissue and recruiting other cells, 3) support tissue remodeling, 4) inhibit apoptosis-cell death, 5) differentiate into bone, cartilage, tendon, ligament tissue, etc.

For the last 20 years, there has been a wave of stem cell therapy miracle clinics come and gone with some outlandish claims, some might be true but are not consistent. Many stem cell clinics have moved outside of the US and are offering stem cell therapy as medical tourism, including on cruise ships.

To me, it all sounds too good to be true. I have been staying away from these extraordinary claims until my friend, a very conservative medical doctor from Ohio, highly endorsed stem cell therapy. He is still bald-headed and looked about same to me but his demeanor, attitude and enthusiasm has changed. He seemed more youthful, optimistic and energetic.

My initial assessment of stem cell therapy is that it is a relatively new medical science that may require more regulation and toning down commercially-driven hype and extraordinary medical claims. With that said, I can see the potential of new hope for regenerative medicine. I do not recommend people jump into stem cell therapy if you still have active dental problems, parasite or fungal infections, environmental toxins or heavy metal exposure. Nutritional support, diet, dental and general detoxification must be addressed before any cell therapy. Otherwise, the therapy may not be as effective and you may be wasting your money.

I just came back from Dr. A. Farshchian’s Center for the Regenerative Medicine clinic for training and got an injection thru my nostril, like Dr. R.B., as a part of my training. I will report to you later in a follow-up article. I may drive like a maniac and may get a speeding ticket, or who knows what will happen. Stem cell therapy is not for everyone. It is costly, not covered by insurance, and expectations should be realistic; but perhaps brings a hope for an Accidental Cure when all else has failed. Stem cell therapy will be available in my practice on a limited basis as a last phase of healing – regenerative medicine – only after nutritional support, detoxification, dental work and parasite/fungal infections are under control.

Dr. Simon Yu, M.D. is a Board Certified Internist. He practices Internal Medicine with an emphasis on Integrative Medicine to use the best each has to offer. For more articles and information about integrative medicine, patient success stories, and Dr. Yu’s health book, Accidental Cure: Extraordinary Medicine for Extraordinary Patients, visit his website at www.PreventionAndHealing.com or call Prevention and Healing, Inc., 314-432-7802. You can also attend a free monthly presentation and discussion by Dr. Yu on Integrative Medicine at his office on the second Tuesday each month at 6:30 pm. Call to verify the date. Seating is limited, arrive early.

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