Autologous (your own) stem cells from fat have been used for repair and regeneration on an investigational basis for various degenerative conditions including orthopedic, urologic, neuro-degenerative, cardiac and auto-immune diseases. These cell therapy procedures are generally performed on an outpatient basis and involve the use of cells from liposuction fat that are prepared on the same day and used fresh as a one-time deployment. This same-day process is known as a “point of care” procedure.
Many diseases, however, require repeat treatments or greater numbers of treatments for success. The only way to accomplish this with your own cells is to freeze some of them at the time of treatment and give them back later, or even better, use them for laboratory expansion to grow extremely high numbers of your own cells. This would provide a personalized repository of your own repair cells containing your own DNA in huge numbers. Several stem cell cryopreservation companies around the country offer this service, but until recently, they were only able to release your cells back under certain circumstances such as for an FDA-approved study or for an investigational procedure.
Thus, fat-derived stem cell procedures performed around the world have been restricted to same-day “point of care” with the hope that one day patients would be able to freeze some of these cells for future use. Well, the future is here. You can now freeze your own stem cells as bio-insurance to protect your health and are able to get your stem cells back for repeat treatments, and ultimately for laboratory expansion, at your discretion.
Here is the story….Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, all of which have a particular life span. Some last longer than others, but all living cells eventually die. In youth, we are blessed with a lot of stem cells around our various organs and tissues. So, as cells age and die or sustain injury, this signals the stem cells to turn on and replace the dying or injured cells. Eventually, our organs run out of these stem cells and we’re dependent on receiving them from other areas, such as bone marrow, or we simply heal a wound with other cells that form scar tissue instead of the needed organ cells. As we age, our bodies produce fewer and fewer of these cells and, of course, it eventually becomes impossible to keep up with our decline in natural cell death. Eventually, no matter how healthy you are, you run out of enough functioning cells to sustain your vital organs and you can no longer sustain life. Thus, a possible key to prolonged healthy living may be in regenerative medicine using your own stem cells – cell renewal therapy or CRT – to keep body parts and vital organs functioning properly.
Stem cells reside naturally in huge numbers within our fat. Instead of leaving your stem cells in your body’s fat compartments, you can now release and preserve them for more essential needs – like staying healthy. Cryo (meaning to freeze) preservation companies can provide this very option to anyone who has at least one ounce of fat (just 2 tablespoons) to spare. From this small amount of fat you can extract 10 to 30 million stem cells. You can also use unwanted fat following cosmetic liposuction procedures rather than throwing it out or just remove a little extra fat during a point of care regenerative procedure known as “cell surgery.” The technology allows you to extract your own stem cells from this fat and save them for a rainy day in a very deep freeze. Cryopreservation is done by storing your cells at – 190°C in liquid nitrogen. This absolutely preserves the cells and has been done successfully for years with sperm, eggs, embryos, and more recently, umbilical cord blood and tissue.
Having your healthy cells stored for life makes them immediately available should crisis conditions arise such as trauma, heart attack, or sudden illness. Banking these cells – with an FDA-approved cryopreservation company – before you need them may be the best insurance policy you ever buy. Besides the regenerative work being done now, your frozen stem cells may also have a role in the future in age mitigation strategies and also to treat cancer by carrying cancer killing agents directly into tumors. Your valuable stem cells not only contain your own DNA, their use eliminates any risk of allergic reaction or disease transmission.
Elliot B. Lander, MD, FACS, is co-founder and medical director of The Cell Surgical Network®, medical director of the California Stem Cell Treatment Center in Rancho Mirage and Beverly Hills, and founding partner of Cells On Ice cryopreservation company. He can be reached at (800) 231.0407. For more information on cryopreservation visit www.cellsonice.com.