Panama Stem Cell Clinic Reviews : Why Am I Blogging from the Caymans?

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Panama Stem Cell Clinic Reviews

Yesterday I flew down to Grand Cayman to once again allow some of my patients access to advanced cultured stem cells. This morning I would also like to compare and contrast what we do here from what’s done in Panama. Hence, this will be one of my first official Panama stem cell clinic reviews.

What’s Offered Outside the US with Regard to Stem Cells?

The cell therapies offered in the US are either autologous (from the patient) or allogeneic (from a donor). The only therapy in the US that has real stem cells and that’s currently permitted by US law is bone marrow concentrate. All other donor cell offerings such as umbilical cord or amniotic tissue have no live and functional mesenchymal stem cell content (1-3).

Outside the US, the big difference is that the cells can be grown to larger numbers in a process called culture expansion. This means that the stem cells are grown over days to weeks in culture. They can also be saved for future use in cryopreservation.

What’s Close to the US with Regard to Stem Cells?

There are three places close to the US that allow cells to be culture expanded and that have been around and stable for years. They are:

  • Regenexx Cayman in the Cayman Islands
  • The Stem Cell Institute in Panama (Riordan Institute)
  • CellTex in Cancun, Mexico

Today I will compare and contrast Regenexx Cayman with the Stem Cell Institute in one of my first Panama stem cell clinic reviews.

Regenexx Cayman vs. The Stem Cell Institute in Panama

So why did I fly down to the Cayman Islands yesterday to treat my patients versus fly to Panama? As I have blogged before, the problem with Panama and Mexico and many Latin American clinics is that these countries don’t usually permit US physicians to get a medical license. US patients have become very accustomed to the level of training we have in the states, but those US physicians can’t be found in Latin America. Hence, one reason is that US physicians can and are licensed in Grand Cayman.

Another big difference is the technology offered. In Grand Cayman, the focus is on using the patient’s own stem cells from bone marrow and growing those in culture. In Panama, birth tissue cells are culture expanded. If we look at the amount of data published in human clinical trials on the use of cultured stem cells for orthopedic problems, there’s simply much more safety and efficacy data published using bone marrow than birth tissues.

Finally, as I always discuss, precise injections of stem cells into specific areas require advanced training and tools. Meaning, the doctors in Cayman (including myself) are all US physicians who have additional training (certifications through IOF) on the use of fluoroscopy and ultrasound in how to place cells into the damaged musculoskeletal system. Having treated patients who were first treated in Panama, what you tend to get is blind and not image-guided advanced injections.

A Real World Example From this Morning

Here’s a real patient stem cell order form the Cayman clinic this morning:

  1. Cervical facets with overfill into the epidural space
  2. Cervical ligaments
  3. Cervical segmental muscles
  4. Right shoulder rotator cuff tendons
  5. Right shoulder glenohumeral joint
  6. Right shoulder AC joint and supporting ligaments
  7. Right knee popliteus tendon
  8. Right knee medial meniscus
  9. Right knee MCL
  10. Right knee medical compartment
  11. Right knee femur and tibia intraosseous injections (into the bone marrow lesions)
  12. Bilateral hand CMC thumb joints intra-artcular and capsular ligaments

These are highly complex injections using both ultrasound and C-arm fluoroscopy. They can’t be performed by an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist who doesn’t have additional and advanced interventional training and there is no way to replicate these in Panama. In fact, from the patients that I’ve treated who have also been treated there, the best that they could do would be blind injections in the knee, hand, and shoulder joints and to start an IV.

The upshot? I’m here in Cayman instead of Panama because it’s the most advanced site close to the US to get orthopedic stem cell therapy. It allows US physicians to get licensed and only permits doctors who have advanced image-guided injection training to staff the clinic. Finally, there are the tools here that I need to do my work.

(1) Berger D, Lyons N, Steinmetz, N. In Vitro Evaluation of Injectable, Placental Tissue-Derived Products for Interventional Orthopedics. Interventional Orthopedics Foundation Annual Meeting. Denver, 2015. https://interventionalorthopedics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/AmnioProducts-Poster.pdf

(2) Becktell L, Matuska A, Hon S, Delco M, Cole B, Fortier L. Proteomic analysis and cell viability of nine amnion-derived biologics. Orthopedic Research Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2018. https://app.box.com/s/vcx7uw17gupg9ki06i57lno1tbjmzwaf

(3) Panero, A, Hirahara, A., Andersen, W, Rothenberg J, Fierro, F. Are Amniotic Fluid Products Stem Cell Therapies? A Study of Amniotic Fluid Preparations for Mesenchymal Stem Cells With Bone Marrow Comparison. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2019 47(5), 1230–1235. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546519829034

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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15 thoughts on “Panama Stem Cell Clinic Reviews : Why Am I Blogging from the Caymans?

  1. Stacey Kaufman

    I’m currently a PICL patient of Dr. Schultz, who is awesome. I heard you did a great job in Cayman this week treating your patient & my friend Rick. Thank you for all you are doing as a healer and in teaching us.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Thanks Stacey!

  2. Douglas Young

    I am 57 yrs old. If my MSC’s are drawn for culture, wouldn’t it take much much longer to culture the needed amount for my multiple procedures than umbilical MSC’s? Also, can they be individually charachterized for efficacy to my specific needs. Won’t there also be more LL37 cells present in Umbilical v Bone marrow?
    Thanks

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Doug,
      Culture for your bone marrow cells lasts 14 days, give or take. We have no data on the clinical efficacy of LL37 cells for orthopedic problems, but many studies for bone marrow MSCs.

  3. diamond victory

    hi, my husband is a quadriplegic from the shoulders down. which would be more effective for this disability? and what’s the difference from stem cell in panama city vs regenexx in Cayman pertaining the spinal cord injury?

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      It’s very unlikely that stem cells will help your husband’s quadriplegia regardless of where that procedure is performed…

  4. Diamond Victory

    in response to, “
    Chris Centeno, MD Post author • 1 week ago
    It’s very unlikely that stem cells will help your husband’s quadriplegia regardless of where that procedure is performed…”

    Is there a more effective idea you can suggest?

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      No, none exists at this time.

  5. Dana

    Im considering stem cell therapy for my knee with Dr. Frielis. Would there be more benefit from having it done with him when he’s in Cayman instead of doing it locally?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Dana,
      I’d discuss that with Dr. Friedlis in the Candidacy review. What’s different about treatment in Grand Cayman is that your stem cells can be culture expanded so there is more to work with which is relevant in certain issues, or when many things are to be treated at once. What’s the issue you’re seeking treatment for?

  6. Oswald Kirindongo

    Do you offer treatment for patients of kidney dialysis?

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Oswald,
      We treat orthopedic issues exclusively.

  7. Michele Whitney

    My husband has not been diagnosed with anything yet. All blood work and other tests have not shown anything for certain. He has what he describes as neuropathy from his shoulders down to his hands and in his feet. It came on a few months ago pretty aggressively.

  8. Kathy Mobasheri

    Hi
    My daughter 20 years old she has emery Dreifuss muscular dystrophy . When you look at her she seems to be normal like everyone else but her elbow is getting limited , her neck stiff , her ankles the same And back minor scoliosis
    Please tell me if you can help so I can bring her
    Regards
    Kathy
    Canada

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      I’m sorry to hear that. No, we don’t treat MD, just orthopedic conditions.

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