Frequently Asked Questions
Why stem cells?
Your stem cells are your body’s natural healing cells. They are recruited by chemical signals emitted by damaged tissues to repair and regenerate your damaged cells. Stem cells derived from your own tissues may well be the next major advance in medicine. The Stem Cell Center of Georgia has the technology to produce a solution rich with your own stem cells. Under investigational protocols these can be deployed to treat a number of degenerative conditions and diseases.
What does research show about stem cells?
Stem Cells are tiny “progenitor” cells. They have the potential to recognize tissue injury and repair injured cells. In the right environment, these stem cells can change (differentiate) into bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, collagen, neural tissue, blood vessels, and even some organs. Stem cells may also effect healing by secreting special chemical messengers that repair damaged tissue. Adult stem cells appear to be particularly effective in improving painful joints, repairing cartilage and ligaments, and even painful conditions along the spine! There are many clinical trials with stem cells going on right now. In one example, patients suffering from heart attacks have been given their own fat derived stem cells so they could speed up repair of the heart muscle and indeed, these patients have shown quicker healing compared to those not given real stem cells. Such studies have encouraged the use of stem cell deployments for ischemic and idiopathic cardiomyopathy. There have been reports of improvements with MS, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s, ALS, and stroke. Stem cells may be effective in the treatment of Macular Degeneration, Crohn’s disease and numerous pulmonary conditions such as COPD, asthma, and fibrosis. Stem cells are now used for patients with kidney failure and in the treatment of critical limb ischemia. There are many common conditions that may benefit from stem cell therapy.
What is the stem cell harvesting procedure?
The Stem Cell Center of Georgia specializes in the use of fat derived stem cells. With our current technology, we can harvest your own fat cells under a local anesthetic, break down the collagen that binds the fat and stem cells and then separate out a solution rich in your own stem cells. The process used by SCCG originated in Korea and yields extremely high numbers of stem cells. Fat can be harvested from any area on your body that has an adequate fat supply, but we prefer to harvest it from the areas that will give you the best cosmetic result. The mini-liposuction, done under local anesthesia, takes less than twenty minutes. This procedure is done under strict sterility and the processing of the cells is done under a completely closed system that is not even exposed to air. Viable cells are then counted and photographed for your record. One of our experts from our multidisciplinary staff – such as an orthopedic surgeon, interventional cardiologist or interventional radiologist – will inject the cells according to the most appropriate route. This is called “deployment.” Because it’s your own DNA material, there can be no rejection. A solution rich with your tiny stem cells are administered through injection into tissues, joints, arteries or veins. The entire procedure takes less than two hours.
Are there different types of stem cells?
Stem cells can be either adult or embryonic. The Stem Cell Center of Georgia uses only adult (non-embryonic) stem cells. There have been no cases reported of adult mesenchymal stem cells contributing to tumor formation.
Who is a candidate for stem cell deployment?
You may be considering stem cell therapy for a particular condition or your physician may be treating you for a condition that he/she feels might respond to stem cell therapy. Our website has a list of the protocols we have that are currently active for the investigational use of stem cells. At your initial consultation you will see several specialists who have expertise in stem cell therapy to determine whether stem cell therapy might be appropriate for you. Your decision to proceed with treatments will need to be made between you and your doctor. Patients who have active infections or cancer are not candidates for stem cell treatments.
How can I obtain this procedure?
At this time, the cost of experimental stem cell treatments is not covered by insurance companies.
We believe that our research is university quality. We are patient funded and we have no source of grants or pharmaceutical company funding. Although we are a “for-profit” organization, our goal is not to patent stem cell technology for corporate profit but rather to learn the medical potential of these cells and contribute to the science of regenerative medicine. We have set our fees very reasonably to lower the threshold of access to stem cell medicine. Our fee includes harvesting, isolating cells and deployment of your own cells. Also, under special conditions, your stem cells may be cryogenically stored for future treatments.