Our Orthopedic Stem Cell Research Program

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We’re in the middle of construction at our Colorado facility as the clinic is upgraded and expanded. It’s now the largest orthopedic regenerative medicine facility in the U.S. However, as part of that expansion, I had to let some workmen into our medical-gas storage area, and as I punched in the code and opened the door, I took a quick picture of some of the liquid-nitrogen storage tanks. They reminded me of a cryonics facility, but they are emblematic of the intense stem cell research that we do every day.

In the same-day stem-cell-treatment world where cells are taken and put back in the same procedure, almost nobody does any research. This includes many university-based doctors now beginning to offer these treatments. Their clinical stem cell work using simple bedside machines has little to do with the stem cell research occurring over in the biology department across campus. In fact, 90% of orthopedic stem cell work being done is just by a doctor who bought a simple bedside centrifuge and took a weekend course. The other 10% is mostly made up of doctors who took a weekend course on how to process cells in a hood in their office. It doesn’t matter how famous the orthopedic clinic or doctor is or how many big-name athletes are getting treated, it’s all the same stuff—minimally trained doctors, simple bedside machines, and not a lick of independent thought or research.

When we say that Regenexx is very different, this tank is one of the things we’re talking about. Our entire network of doctors around the country can lay claim to a privately funded, orthopedic-focused, stem-cell-research program that’s second to none. This tank is part of the system that stores stem cell samples for research purposes. It’s actually the backup for a sophisticated freezer that keeps those samples at -150C. If the power fails, this tank dumps liquid nitrogen into the jacket of that freezer to ensure no samples are lost. Why not just store samples in liquid nitrogen in the first place, like most facilities would? Because of research that shows that viruses can be transmitted from sample to sample through the liquid nitrogen. As a result, we’ve required the Cayman Islands facility that we work with to have the same dry-phase system that stores patient stem cell samples for future use.

The upshot? This tank is only one of many sophisticated scientific systems and measurement tools we have at our Colorado research facility that supports and powers the science behind why Regenexx is very different. All of it is expensive, which is why you won’t see this type of horsepower backing up the doctors who are offering simple bedside stem cell therapies after taking a weekend course!

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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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