When I was a middle class kid growing up in South Florida, we would go to the “Swap Shop” an outdoor market where a Rolex could be had for 20 bucks. My brothers and I called these watches a “Schmolex”, because they were obvious copies that would break inside of a month. Well, we now have what I call “Schmgenexx”.
Regenexx is a very specific set of protocols for how to treat each joint with stem cells and how you process those cells. We have collected more data on the use of stem cells for orthopedic problems delivered these specific protocols than anyone else on earth-nobody else is even a close second. This data obviously only works when you use these exact protocols for injection, have the requisite training, and process the cells in the same way.
What are some concrete examples of the attempts at discount Regenexx procedures I call Schmgenexx? Recenetly a physician came to our attention who performs a procedure that’s quite different, but that has gone out of his way to copy as much of the Regenexx procedure as he can and shows our data on his web-site. To a lay reader, it would be almost impossible to tell that this data didn’t really apply to what he does. Let’s explore this a bit further.
The Regenexx procedures all have three key components:
1. The expertise involved in taking and placing cells under precise x-ray or ultrasound guidance
2. The timing of the injection series and the what’s injected to help the cells accomplish their regenerative goals
3. How the cells are processed
If you alter any of these components substantially, the data we’ve collected showing improvement rates may not apply. So let’s look at the differences between the real Regenexx and Schmgenexx:
1. Many physicians use different (and frankly not science supported) stem cell draw techniques from bone marrow, so the number of cells they harvest is likely far fewer than a Regenexx physician. In addition, as one concrete example, most physicians don’t target specific structures like Regenexx docs, instead opting for much easier and simpler injections designed to park cells somewhere in the joint. This is why Regenexx has such an intense educational program and certifies physicians by body area (i.e. knee).
2. We spent years at Regenexx studying the timing of and types of medications that would help or hurt stem cells. We’ve also performed our own internal research in this regard. Schmgenexx physicians usually just throw a few of these medications in the wrong doses and at the wrong times into the area. In addition, most have no idea of the extensive prohibited medication list that Regenexx physicians use to avoid hurting stem cells. This list was developed using our cultured cell experience.
3. One of the key differences between Regenexx and Schmgenexx physicians is that the former use a very specific isolation protocol that no one else uses. This helps produce the maximum stem cell number out of bone marrow. Schmgenexx physicians usually just substitute a simple bedside centrifuge for this manual process, not wanting to spend the money on an on-site lab. A few Schmgenexx physicians are now trying to learn how to process bone marrow manually using a less advanced technique through watching a DVD or taking a weekend course. Our physicians and their assistants in contrast go through extensive training and have extensive support to make sure they’re doing this correctly.
The upshot? Is it ethical to try to copy the Regenexx protocol, switching out key parts, and then advertise to patients that the Regenexx data applies to what you do? We don’t think so. So avoid the Schmgenexx doctors and instead opt for the real thing!