Stem Cell Therapies – Miracles, Scams and Possibilities

During our German Biological Medicine Tour #38 to Germany in 2011, the group had the great privilege of visiting the world famous Villa Medica, in Edenkoben Germany. We heard an amazing lecture from Dr. Geoffrey Huertigen and were given a guided tour through the entire facility. They maintain their own large flock of organic and naturally raised sheep, cared for by their resident shepherd.

Today, they refer to their technique as “Management with Cell Therapy”. This was however the original resident hospital clinic for stem cell therapies. It was initially founded in 1962-63 by a Dr. Alexander Gali (a student of the Swiss physician known as the “father” of cell therapy Dr. Paul Niehans) and was headed by the famous Dr. Burhardt Aschoff for many years. His successor Dr. Huertigen was able to give us a clear picture of how their treatments were accomplished. All patients (many of them Asian, and many very famous celebrities) are in hospital for 4 days/3 nights with full round the clock care. They begin the process with histories and extensive conventional assessments to determine compatibility. The necessary sheep are slaughtered on one day and the injections administered the same day. True live (stem) cell therapy. By their definition:

“Cell Therapy is an implantation by injection of fetal or juvenile suspensions of cells or tissues in physiological solution for therapeutic purposes. The term includes implantation of live cells, lyophilized (freeze-dried) cells, frozen cells and fetal precursor stem cells prepared by primary tissue culture.”

Currently this hospital clinic is owned by a Thai tycoon who has established a number of satellite clinics around the globe. It is now headed by Dr. Bruno Karsch (Chief Medical Director), Dr. Heinz Joeken (Senior BioMolecular Therapist) and Dr. Andre Morato (BioMolecular Therapist).

But this isn’t like the buzzwords and products and methods that we are seeing so much in the news and the advertising in today’s media. And there is a difference between “live cell therapy” and the way we are being bombarded by “stem cell therapy” in recent years, but yet the two are intrinsically linked. Even in our small-town local newspaper we see full-page color ads for the miracle of “curing” all your assorted aches and pains by coming to the free seminar and paying thousands of dollars. To me this smacks of a scam, not a “cure”, and a way to line someone’s pockets with a great deal of money.

In looking through some of the research and available literature I see we now even have a “Stem Cells for Dummies” edition. There are also beginning to be some interesting studies published, and a variety of development companies are actively working toward reproducible protocols and products. So, there’s no need for me to go into that kind of detail since you can follow that info easily enough. But for the majority of us practicing Biological Medicine we do not need to necessarily be involved in the research. We need a conceptual understanding of the method and its applications, and then a practical and reliable means of determining the efficacy for our individual patients.

A Few Basics

What are these stem cells?

Stem cells are the body’s foundational cells from which all other cells with specialized functions develop and are generated. Under the correct conditions in the body or in a laboratory, stem cells can divide to form more cells. These daughter cells can:

  • Make copies of themselves, or self-renew.
  • Develop or differentiate into more specialized cells.

What are the sources of stem cells?

Embryonic Stem Cells: These stem cells come from embryos that are three to five days old. They are called pluripotent stem cells meaning they can divide into more stem cells, or can become any type of cell in the body. These usually come from the “left-overs” of in vitro fertilization procedures. These are highly controversial and, in most cases, considered as unethical for use.

Adult or Somatic Stem Cells: These stem cells can be extracted from different types of tissues including brain, bone marrow, blood and others. Most cells are considered multipotent and can generate only a few different cell types.

Perinatal Stem Cells: These stem cells are found in the amniotic fluid as well as umbilical cord blood.

Induced pluripotent stem cells are cells that scientists can reprogram to act as stem cells and are used in regenerative medicine. After collecting stem cells, they are usually stored in liquid nitrogen for future use.

What are stem cells used for?

According to the doctors at Villa Medica, cell therapy belongs to the oldest forms of medical treatment and includes the following:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Transplantation of platelets, erythrocyte concentrates, leukocytes
  • Implantation of thymus
  • Transplantation of fetal cells (liver, spleen, bone marrow, pancreatic cells, etc.)

Other sources add:

  • Increase understanding of how diseases occur
  • Generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells (regenerative medicine) including such illnesses as:
  • Traumatic spinal cord injuries
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Severe burns
  • Cancer patients
  • Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Even hearing loss, and so on . . .

Quoting from Medical News Today:

The idea of a miracle cure and bodies healing themselves holds a particular fascination. Stem cell research brings regenerative medicine a step closer, but many of the ideas and concepts remain controversial.”

And more . . .

Here, to add to your general information are some comments from the medical advisors of Occidental Institute:

See the article by Simon Yu, MD from Dec. 2018 here:

http://www.preventionandhealing.com/articles/Stem-Cell-Therapy-New-Regenerative-Medicine.pdf

And here are the comments from Michael Galitzer, MD from an interview conducted by Dr. Roy Martina on Jan. 11, 2109 entitled “Staying Young, Healthy and Full of Energy for Life”:

STEM CELL THERAPY

“Stem cell therapy has the potential to revolutionize nearly all aspects of medicine. We may soon see stems cells used to treat everything from heart disease and cancer to spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s, to even baldness and blindness.

Stem cells are considered the “mother cells” of all other cells in the body because they are undifferentiated cells that can differentiate, or turn, into specialized cells, and also divide (through a process known as mitosis) to produce additional stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in bone marrow and fat, as well as other tissues and organs of the body. The number of stem cells in our body declines drastically with age. At birth 1 in 10,000 cells are stem cells. As teenagers it is 1:100,000. In our 40’s it is 1:400,000. In our 80’s it is 1:2 million.  Stem cells have 3 major modes of action – they can reduce inflammation, modulate the immune system, and regenerate tissues.

Autologous stem cell therapy refers to stem cells harvested from a person’s own body. There are three sources of autologous adult stem cells in humans: bone marrow, which involves extracting stem cells from pelvic bone; adipose tissue (fat cells), which involves harvesting stem cells using liposuction, and blood which involves drawing blood and then harvesting stem cells through a process called apheresis. During apheresis the drawn blood passes through a machine that extracts stem cells and returns the rest of the blood back to the donor’s body. Stem cells can also be harvested from umbilical cord blood following birth, and then banked for future use.

Stem cells are currently becoming popular in the area of orthopedics and sports medicine. The stem cells are extracted from the pelvic bone marrow, and immediately injected into a poorly functioning joint such as the knee, hip, or shoulder.

A present area of controversy is collecting (placental) umbilical cord stem cells from a healthy woman giving birth, and injecting them either into a joint, or intra-venously into a person who is looking for a health enhancing anti-aging effect.  More research needs to be done as to its safety and effectivity.

I believe that the body needs to be optimized before one undergoes stem cell therapy.  Optimal nutrition, exercise, proper supplements, drainage and detoxification, and hormonal balance will result in a more beneficial outcome when using stem cell therapy.” Dr. M.G.

Some concerns and suggestions

In my travels through the various conferences, seminars and meetings, I’ve run across numerous companies and individuals selling all kinds of “stem cell” products. Everything from so-called “live”, to freeze dried, to stored in liquid nitrogen, and on to “dried” – I don’t know all the amazingly inventive and innovative preservative methods – but it was clear that it was not a product field that was easily navigated. And they are all incredibly expensive, while the promotional materials and sales personnel leave you wondering why we are not all living to the biblical age of 120 in perfect health. I can only urge each of you to approach the field as a sceptical and well-informed consumer.

For example, the clinic that offers stem cell therapy for your knee that will take about two years to take effect and will only cost you $XX,000 should be considered questionable. Will they even still be here when you get few to no results within that two-year timeframe?

There is no doubt that the possibilities of effective true stem cell and live cell therapies are unlimited. I feel that we are only scratching the surface of those possibilities, and that we will see great improvements as we move into the future. However, the question is how to work our way through the reams of materials and information and find a way to assist our patients, and whether or not stem cell therapy could be considered viable for their individual disorder?

I feel that we have to test it. We need some form of testing for compatibility, tolerances and application. If you are willing and able to make the necessary injections, then let us consider what methods can be used to assess that all important compatibility. First look at the conventional/orthodox testing methods, and then . . .

. . . All of you should be using one of the point and medication testing methods for determining assessment, therapy and patient compliance purposes. This is a basic, manual skill whether it is based on a VEGA, EAV, BFD, ART or PRT approach. If you can achieve resonance – a positive response – with a basic medication test, then you have a remedy or application that will work for that patient.

I cannot stress this enough. Each of you can determine exactly which therapy or approach will work for your patient by including one of the point and medication testing methods within your assessment armamentarium.

If you are not already incorporating one of these procedures into your practice, see the many OIRF materials concerning these testing methods available through Praxis2Practice and consider participating in an appropriate training seminar or workshop to learn or hone your skills.

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