Blogging from the Caymans Again…

by Chris Centeno, MD /

cultured stem cells

It’s spring, and again I’m down at our licensed advanced-practice site in Grand Cayman. As you can see above, it’s beautiful down here. That was last night at sunset from the back porch.

Same Day vs. Cultured Stem Cells

The U.S. only allows stem cells to be isolated and used in the same surgical procedure in which they’re taken. However, stem cells can be grown to greater numbers over a few weeks. If there are extra, they can also be saved in cryopreservation for future use.

Who Is a Good Candidate for This Type of Therapy?

The patients I see here in Cayman tend to fall into one, or both, of two categories. The first is that they have multiple sites to be treated. The second is that they have a diagnosis that doesn’t respond well to same-day stem cells. Let me explain.

Some patients have multiple problem areas. For example, they may have arthritis in both knees and a shoulder rotator cuff tear. Because, unlike other clinics, we know that we need a minimum dose of stem cells to treat each knee and that most older patients won’t hit a high enough dose with a same-day stem cell procedure, growing the stem cells to bigger numbers may be a good option.

The other situation when cultured stem cells may be the best choice is a diagnosis that doesn’t respond well to same-day stem cells. While we can treat most problems with a same-day stem cell procedure, a few things need more cells. For example, anything more than mild hip arthritis may require cultured cells.

The Regenexx Network Now Has Access

All of our national network providers have the option of getting licensed to practice medicine in Grand Cayman and bringing their patients to this licensed advanced-practice site. So this is not exclusive to Colorado providers. Ask your local Regenexx provider if he or she can offer cultured stem cells as an option.

Beware of US-Based Cultured Stem Cell Scams

While the USFDA has been quite clear that culturing stem cells in the U.S. is not legal without a drug approval, that hasn’t stopped at least two US-based groups from floating that risk. These take two forms: the fake stem cell study and the “self-serve” approach. Let me explain.

I’ve covered one of these cultured-stem-cell businesses on this blog. This group states that they are running a clinical study. However, when you look under the covers, they don’t have the proper FDA approvals for this type of drug research. The other is what I call the “self-serve” approach. This means that there is no faux study, but a doctor will offer to take your fat and will provide the name of a place that can isolate and culture the stem cells. This bizarre attempt at circumventing FDA regulations involves the patient taking their fat sample to the lab and picking up their cultured cells. The idea is that since the patient is the one who is requesting that his or her cells are cultured and stored (and not the doctor), then this is legal. It’s not really, but it is an enchanting fairy tale.

So what can happen to your stored cells when either one or both of these scams are busted by the feds? Your cells are an illegal drug product. They can’t be used by you in any way. Also, they can’t be sent out of the U.S. because that would be the export of an illegal drug product. The money you’ve paid is, therefore, wasted.

The upshot? I love coming down to Grand Cayman. For me it’s great to have options as a licensed physician in the Caymans. Now, all Regenexx network doctors can do the same. Finally, beware of US clinics claiming they can enroll you in a pay-for-play clinical trial or that you need to take your cells to and from a lab for culturing. You might just end up paying a bunch of money only to have your cells lost forever!

The Regenexx-C procedure is not approved by the USFDA and is only offered in countries via license where culture-expanded autologous cells are permitted via local regulations. 

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7 thoughts on “Blogging from the Caymans Again…

  1. Maryl

    Most interested in your stem cell therapies.
    Be aware and stay blessed. ????

  2. Mike

    Any closer to providing alar/transverse ligament procedures in the Cayman?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Mike,

      As far as I know, Alar Transverse procedures are only done in Colorado. I will update you if that changes.

  3. debra

    Do you ever have patients stay in the cayman facility for more than usual injections? Do you ever have patients stay for months while being treated? Is it possible to have continual stem cell injections treatments over a few week period?
    I have already sent in my application. Just waiting to do CT scan before talking with your Dr’s.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Debra,
      Grand Cayman is beautiful and some patients combine treatment with a vacation, but it is not an In-Patient facility. Patients come in for the bone marrow aspiration and return 2-4 weeks later for treatment. Because one of the additional treatment options is treating multiple joints, patients usually recuperate for a few days, and then leave. Because cells not used can be banked, treatment at closer intervals if needed is possible than with same day procedures.

  4. Karen Paff

    Which doctors in your network are best qualified to perform spine and disc treatments?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Karen,
      On the Physician Locater page, look to the right of each location, and you’ll either see the word “Spine”, or not. Those are the Regenexx Network Physicians who are qualified to perform spine and disc treatments. Please see:https://regenexx.com/find-a-physician/

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

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.
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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

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Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

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Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
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Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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Elbow

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Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

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Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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