2021 All Stem Cell Infographic

I’ve been blogging a bit less lately due to the hours and hours that these two annual stem cell research infographics have consumed. This morning I’m finally done with the all cell types document which has some new surprises. Let’s dig in.

What Are These Infographics?

These are documents I produce every year (except last year due to COVID) that summarize all of the clinical research on stem cells for orthopedic use. They are PDFs with each circle, square, or triangle representing one study with a link out to the actual abstract or study online.

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Why Do This?

This helps me get a sense of what’s been published and the trends. It also serves as a great resource for the field when other physician-scientists are writing papers or giving presentations. Finally, it helps patients understand just how much actual research on patients with orthopedic problems is out there and published already.

The “All Cell” Infographic

For this one, I pulled together everything published on bone marrow, fat, and birth tissue stem cells. For the latter, these studies are NOT on products sold and used here in the US, but instead on drug products that are culture-expanded and undergoing approval, usually in Asia. Meaning that when you see an umbilical cord study on this document, this is VERY different than the fake umbilical cord products used by US clinics scamming patients.

The circles represent bone marrow studies, the squares represent when fat stem cells were used, and the triangles represent birth tissues (almost always cultured umbilical cord cells).

Infographic showing a summary of all orthopedic stem cell type and ECM research done between 1997 and 2021 by year.

(Click here for a larger view)

What Is the Biggest Trend Over the Past Two Years?

The number of studies using stem cells derived from fat has exploded. You can see that by looking at the increased number of square symbols in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. This year, to date, 7/28 studies in cellular orthopedics (25%) have involved fat.

Most of the more sophisticated research on adipose stromal vascular fraction (same-day digested fat stem cells which aren’t legal in the US) is out of Europe or Asia. Almost all of the research on adipose cultured cell products is out of Asia. This brings up another HUGE trend. The Asians are killing us in human clinical stem cell research. I predicted this years ago because of their more relaxed regulations on cultured stem cell products. So right now, Asia is the orthopedic clinical stem cell research leader. Will the US and Europe catch up? Only time will tell.

It should also be noted that the number of studies that use culture-expanded umbilical cord cells in orthopedic surgery (in Asia) has also jumped. In 2018 and just prior there were one or two of these studies per year, in 2021 to date, 10 of the 33  published studies (30%) used this cell type.

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Use of this Document

The goal is to share this document. So if you want a copy, just email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you one. If you use it in a presentation, just give me credit. To see the PDF, just click on the image above. That document has active links to each study at each icon. The author’s name, body area, number of patients treated in the study, and type of stem cells used are listed. The syringe icon means an injection-based study while the scalpel icon means a surgical study.

There Isn’t Enough Research?

This statement is almost comical at this point. Yes, we always need more research. Yes, we still need more in certain areas. However, we have so much research now that’s it’s almost getting a bit overwhelming just indexing it all. We have randomized controlled trials in spades. So if someone tells you there is no research that stem cells work in orthopedics, then run the other way, because they have never taken the time to look!

What Does Regenexx Offer?

At Regenexx we have always offered a large number of these technologies while focusing on the procedures that are required to deliver these cells to the right spot. Our providers use both bone marrow concentrate and Mfat (micro fragmented fat), which are listed on this document (circles and squares). At our licensed site in Grand Cayman, we can also offer procedures that use cultured or more heavily processed cells (like stromal vascular fraction) that can’t be legally offered here in the US.

The upshot? This darn thing is an immense amount of work, but it’s also a great way to make myself review the new medical research. Enjoy!

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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