What is the mission of the Stem Cells Transplant Institute?

The mission of the Stem Cells Transplant Institute, under the direction of Dr. Leslie Mesén, is treat each patient with respect and compassion, inspiring hope and nurturing healing, by using the most advanced technologies to provide quality care and life changing therapies.

Exciting progress is being made through innovative research, evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of debilitating diseases. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes that the potential of stem cell therapies must be explored. The professionals at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.

What differentiates stem cells from other cells?

Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics; 1. They are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, and 2. Under certain physiologic conditions, stem cells can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain, and repair the tissue in which they are found.

Stem cells come from two main sources; embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.  Adult stem cells do not require the destruction of an embryo and their collection and use in research is not controversial. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that differentiate into a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow and blood. Mesenchymal stem cells can convert into ligaments, cartilage, lung tissue, muscle, bone and even brain cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are used in clinical therapy because of their ability to differentiate, promote cellular growth and survival, modify the immune system and promote tissue healing.

What are the benefits stem cell treatment?

Stem cell therapies are expected to bring substantial benefit to patients suffering a wide range of diseases and injuries. Stem cells offer great hope for treating disease by providing an unlimited source of cells for repairing, or replacing damaged tissue. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells.  Autologous means the stem cells are collected from the recipient, so the risk of rejection is virtually eliminated

The belief, that there exists an undifferentiated cell, which can be programmed into another type of cell, forms the basis of stem cell biology. Today, stem cell treatments have become a reality. The capability of stem cells to regenerate organs and tissues opens a wide spectrum of treatment possibilities for many diseases that are considered incurable including; Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer´s disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, knee injury, osteoporosis, myocardial infarction, and multiple sclerosis.

What diseases can be treated with stem cells?

The ability of stem cells to differentiate, or turn into any cell type that the body needs, means they have the potential to treat diseases involving damaged tissue(s). This is an exciting and promising area for medicine that may revolutionize the treatment of many diseases.

Currently, the Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses adult autologous stem cells to treat:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • COPD
  • Diabetes
  • Neuropathy
  • Heart disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Critical limb ischemia
  • Erectile dysfunction

How stem cells are classified?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses adult autologous mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue.

Stem cells come from two main sources; embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.  Adult stem cells do not require the destruction of an embryo and their collection and use in research is not controversial. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated totipotent or multipotent cells, found throughout the body after embryonic development.

Stem cells are also classified based on where they are collected from; allogenic stem cells are collected from the same species, xenogeneic stem cells are collected from a different species, and autologous stem cells are collected from the intended recipient.

Stem cells can be classified by the extent to which they can differentiate into different cell types. These four main classifications are totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, or unipotent. Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including: osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells) and adipocytes (fat cells).

What is the advantage of using autologous stem cells?

  1. Autologous stem cells are collected from the person’s own tissues and cells, eliminating the risk of infection and transmittable disease which, is possible when using allogeneic stem cells (stem cells from a donor).
  2. Autologous stem cells are 100% compatible with the person’s own cells, eliminating the risk of rejection which, is possible when using allogeneic stem cells (stem cells from a donor).
  3. Autologous stem cells are mature stem cells eliminating the risk of cancer which is possible when using embryonic stem cells

Why do you use stem cells from adipose tissue?

Adipose tissue is easily accessible and provides an abundant and rich source of multipotent adult stem cells capable of regenerative medical applications. Researchers are evaluating the safety and efficacy of many types of stem cells and the results from long-term clinical trials conducted worldwide have shown adipose-derived stem cells to be both safe and efficacious. Adipose derived stem cells are easily collected and only a small amount of adipose tissue is needed.  In addition, stem cells collected from adipose tissue does not need to be grown on substances and can be activated and injected back into the patient within a short period of time.  In comparison embryonic stem cells are grown for several months before they can be used clinically.  When compared to bone marrow extraction, the process for collecting stem cells from adipose tissue is far less invasive, safer, easier, and faster.

What is the process and how long does it take?

The treatment is a non-invasive, same-day procedure taking only a few hours. It is a four-step process:

  1. Harvest

Using local anesthesia to keep the patient comfortable, a small amount of fat is taken from the patient’s abdominal area.

  1. Separate

After the fat is collected, the stem cells are separated from the fat cells using a stem cell centrifuge machine.

  1. Activate

The isolated stem cells are then; 1. Enriched using the patient’s blood plasma 2. Photo activated and, 3. Prepared for transfer back into the patient.

  1. Treat

The treatment will vary depending on the disease. In general, the activated stem cells are added to a saline drip bag and returned to patient’s body by intravenous injection. Activated stem cells may also be returned to the patient by intrathecal, local subdermal, or intramuscular injection or intrapulmonary using a nebulizer. In all cases, the process is only a few hours and the patient is kept comfortable.