Three times a year I change my work site from Colorado to Grand Cayman. Why? So I can use the latest technology that isn't available in the U.S. Let me explain.
Same-Day vs. Culture-Expanded Stem Cells
The vast majority of what we do to help patients is to use either high-dose platelet-rich plasma or high-dose stem cells derived from the patient's bone marrow and used that same day. This works well for many patients, but sometimes they need something more. When they do, we can grow those same stem cells to much higher numbers at our licensed site in Grand Cayman.
A Brand New Lab
The clinical culture-expansion lab here in Grand Cayman is one of the largest in the world. It was just re-created several months ago and is topnotch. The facility is a large clean room that maintains strict standards.
David was first seen in Colorado in 2012. He had a severely arthritic left knee after several surgeries, which was also made worse by what was going on in his back. His L4 vertebra had slipped forward on the L5, plus there was a disc bulge, so the nerves going to that left knee were irritated. This caused the left leg to have multiple issues, including tendons that had gotten torn up and muscles that didn't fire right or that had been torn.
At first, we used the culture-expanded cells in Grand Cayman, and he did great, returning to high-level skiing. However, by 2015 his left knee, which had severe medial compartment arthritis and a failed ACL graft, had a severely unstable meniscus. Basically, it was falling apart and not able to act as a cushion for the joint because it was slipping out with knee extension. So we went all in with the Cayman treatment, focusing on using these supercells to tighten down the ligaments in his back that were allowing the extra motion and seeding stem cells into the meniscus 360 around that structure. How did he do? I really didn't know until he sent me this video:
Two Weeks in Cayman
I'll be down here for two weeks, and I do this three times a year. We also have a physician from our Colorado HQ here every month, and some of our network physicians also make this pilgrimage. As I always try to tell patients who I feel need this technology, it could be worse than asking them to travel to a gorgeous Caribbean island.
The upshot? I'm glad to see that I was able to help David's knee. He'd been told he needed a knee replacement back in 2012, and now look at him go! I love the slo-mo! Finally, for the next two weeks, I'll be blogging from the Caymans!