I’m here in Grand Cayman again at our licensed site, where we use advanced, culture-expanded stem cells. So today begins 11 days on Island Time! Having said that, sitting here in 2016, it’s amazing to think that when we first began using cultured stem cells in 2005/6, we were some of the first physicians on earth to use this advanced cell type in orthopedic patients.
Culture expanded means that the cells are grown out to bigger numbers. This means that we have more cells to use and can do some novel things. Take, for example, what we call “Stem Cell PRP.” Basically using high concentrations of the patient’s own stem cells in a platelet rich plasma carrier to allow many, many different areas to be treated. As an example, in some patients, we’re treating upwards of 5–10 different sites with precise placement of their cells with ultrasound and/or fluoroscopy imaging.
In addition, at this advanced cell-culture site, our licensee can also do other unique things, like selecting cells out of culture that have certain properties, like those that can survive the harsh environment of the discs in the low back. Physicians and patients alike take for granted that the lumbar discs in many patients are nasty places for cells to live, which is part of the reason the disc is a clinical problem in the first place. So normal cells injected into many discs don’t survive long.
We’ve also noted through the years that certain types of joint problems just do better with more cells. Take, for example, severe hip arthritis. This condition seems to respond better to the higher cell numbers we can muster here at this site. In addition, here in Grand Cayman, cells can be stored in cryopreservation for future use—a big plus for many patients. They can literally “keep cells in the bank”!
The upshot? I enjoy my time in Grand Cayman, three times a year now. It’s a beautiful island that is all by itself a world financial center. Having said that, it’s now also a home away from home. It also happens to be the place on earth where the world’s most-advanced orthopedics care happens!
(Yes, that’s a real picture off our back deck from last night!)
The Regenexx-C procedure is not approved by the US FDA and is only offered in countries via license where culture expanded autologous cells are permitted via local regulations.