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FAQs

Licensure

Are you licensed to perform stem cell treatment in Antigua?

Yes, We are licensed under the Antigua Stem Cell Therapy and Research Act of 2019 which has legal jurisdiction in Antigua, as the FDA does in the United States.

Definitions

What are mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Partially differentiated stem cells that are active in tissue repair. They help tissues heal themselves. They modulate the immune system and decrease inflammation
  • They are NOT fetal or embryonic

Uses

What are stem cell injections used for?

  • Arthritic joints as an alternative to joint replacement
  • Back and neck pain
  • Anti-aging
  • Neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Spinal cord injury and post-stroke
  • Long COVID
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Infertility
  • Psoriasis and other skin disorders
  • Pulmonary fibrosis and COPD
  • Erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease and interstitial cystitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Scleroderma
  • Most autoimmune or inflammatory disorders

Results

How effective are stem cells for these disorders?

Results vary by disease. For some disorders, they are very effective. For others at this time their effect may be small or only effective early in the disease. For arthritis, most patients are treated successfully and are able to avoid joint replacement surgery.

How many treatments are needed?

For many disorders, 1 treatment will last for years. In some cases, treatment must be repeated more often.

How long does it take for treatment to work?

Results are usually seen within days.

Are there any diseases where stem cells have not been shown to work so far?

In general, genetic disorders such as Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s Chorea, and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are not benefited by stem cells. There has also been little to no success with Alzheimer’s Disease. However, stem cell treatment combined with gene editing shows great promise for the future.

Autologous versus Allogeneic

What do autolgous and allogeneic mean?

  • Autologous means it comes from the patient being treated
  • Allogeneic means it comes from someone else

Do you use autologous or allogeneic cells?

We usually use allogeneic umbilical cord-derived stem cells from Vitro BioPharma in Golden, Colorado. Sometimes, we use autologous adipose-derived cells from the patient themself. 

Risks

Are there risks/complications of mesenchymal stem cell injections?

Stem cell treatment is arguably one of the safest treatment paradigms that exists. There are no medication side effects and no surgical complications. We have completed a systematic literature review submitted for publication showing no severe adverse events ever reported for stem cell treatment for arthritis for example. There is a theoretical risk of infection anytime an injection takes place although we have never seen one. Stem cell injections are actually used to help fight infections. Minor side effects such as transient local pain and lightheadedness may be seen.

Are there serious adverse events after stem cell injection?

Out of thousands of reported injections: No infections, tumors, or other serious adverse events have been reported in the entire PubMed-indexed (The National Library of medicine index of roughly ~30,000 high-quality medical journals) medical literature for intravenous, intra-thecal (spine-nervous system) or intra-articular (into a joint) mesenchymal stem cell injections except 1 report of simple arm venous thrombosis in china that resolved without problems.

Do these umbilical cord-derived cells cause rejection?

No. These cells lack the major histocompatibility type-two antigens which cause rejection of other types of cells but not these. Therefore no tissue matching or testing is necessary with the recipient patient

Can I be treated with stem cells if I am on blood thinners or other medicines?

Yes, patients should maintain all prior medications for stem cell treatment. Coumadin or other blood thinners are not a problem, except that all blood thinners including Aspirin must be discontinued in advance of back/neck injections. 

Mechanism of Action

How do autologous mesenchymal stem cells work?

Via growth factors that help your tissue heal (eg transforming growth factor beta), platelet derived growth factor). Also via anti-inflammatory cytokines that fight inflammation. Their mechanism of action is immunomodulation. For example, they can help modulate your macrophage cells away from the M1 pro-inflammatory state to the M2 anti-inflammatory pro-healing state.

Technique

Who does the actual injection in your clinic?

All injections are done by Dr. Prodromos or another appropriate board-certified specialist. We do not have mid-level practitioners performing the injections as is the case at many clinics.

Do you use sedation or medications?

None are used, none are needed. In fact, we avoid them to eliminate possible medication side effects.

Are the injections painful?

Injections in joints have some discomfort but it is minimal and usually far less than patients expect. Many patients are often surprised that the injection has been completed so easily. IV injections have no pain or other side effects in general. Occasionally a patient will feel transiently flushed or lightheaded.

Side Effects

What side effects are seen from an injection of cells?

Some patients get a mild headache which generally resolves within an hour sometimes with Tylenol. Most patients do not get a headache. Some patients get shaking chills which generally resolve quickly. We provide heating blankets if this occurs. Most patients do not get shaking chills.

How do patients feel after stem cell injection?

Most patients feel a little fatigued on the day of injection. When this occurs it resolves by the next day. Some patients do not. Some patients have more energy after injection.