Sam Fernandez (not his real name), a businessman in his late 50s, who underwent stem cell treatment, excitedly called his doctor, about its immediate effects. Although the benefits were supposed to be visible six to eight weeks after the procedure, the patient felt like a young man again in six days.
His doctor gave him intravenous therapy, directly injecting stem cell on the shoulder to address the chronic pains and the penis for erectile dysfunction. Aside from the dramatic decrease in blood sugar, improved sleep, increased energy levels and shoulder mobility, the patient reported increased libido. He claimed he was getting “woody” (slang for erection) every day that his wife couldn’t keep up with him.
As the age management medicine trend, there are many hospitals and aesthetic centers offering stem cell treatment at the average price of P1.2 to P1.4 million. Accredited by the Department of Health, StemGenics not only offers medical technology that is unique to the clinic but also procedures at a reasonable price range of P500,000.
Dr. Eduardo Santos, president of StemGenics, said that stem cell therapy is just one of the three aims of a health program: “There is repair, maintain and defend,” he said.
He explained: “Maintenance is a function of exercise, nutritional supplement and hormone support. Defense is a function of guarding the body against cancer and infection. You boost the immune system. The repair is the stem cell procedure, our anchor service. The stem cell regenerates the tissues. You reintegrate the organs which need to be repaired.”
Stem cells used for repair are found in the bone marrow, blood, fat or adipose tissues and in other parts of the body. These cells are stimulated upon getting alerts on injury or inflammation. Their task is to precipitate the healing process when the body is injured. They send proteins to control the inflammation and refresh new cells, and engage new growth proteins. These cells are exchanging regenerative signals within the environment.
“After birth, we have 80 to 100 million stem cells,” said Santos. “Over time, they decrease. By mid-30s, the count is down to 25 million. You won’t have enough to heal as fast as you were younger. That is when aging happens. That is why disease associated with aging comes in—heart conditions, dementia, decreased function of kidney and liver.”
StemGenics uses adult stem cells from fat or adipose-derived stem cell because they hold the highest concentration of adult stem cells in a single procedure.
Santos said that the clinic does not use plant- or animal-derived stem cells, since these are banned by the US Food and Drug Administration.
“If you go to medical search engines such as Karolinska (medical university) and Stanford (Research Institute), and type sheep cell therapy or fresh cell therapy, there are some 20 clinical studies, half of them report on deaths,” said Santos. “These deaths primarily happen because of an immune reaction against the cells. They come in kidney failure. It doesn’t happen right away but six months to 12 months after the procedure, the kidneys fail. This is the case of the graft versus the host. In contrast, when you search for human stem cell, you can find 20,000 articles.”
The clinic also does not use fetal stem cells sourced from the umbilical cord or embryonic stem cells, since they are also prohibited in other countries.
The most common sources for autologous stem cells (sourced from the patient) are the blood, bone marrow and fat. A harvest yields some 50,000 stem cells. The tissue is sent to a lab so that the cells could be expanded to colonies.
“Studies vary on how many cells are needed to result in clinical benefit, ranging from 10 million to 100 million,” said Santos. “There is a general consensus that 16 million to 25 million is the appropriate therapeutic dose.”
At StemGenics, the entire procedure takes four to six hours. A small amount of fat is harvested from the puson, or the lower abdomen, which has the highest concentration of adipose tissues. Then the stem cells are segregated from the fat cells. The stem cells are mixed with the platelet-rich plasma (known for their healing proteins) and activated in a cutting-edge LED technology. This combination enhances tissue repair. The patient receives the activated stem cells through IV drip.
The clinic uses a special equipment, the FDA-approved Nutational Infrasonic Liposculpture or simply called Tickle Lipo because it produces a titillating sensation during the procedure. Aside from being minimally invasive, it can be done while the patient is awake. Women patients have been pleading for body sculpting as well.
In an e-mail to his friends, Sam reported, “What is unique about this technology is that the harvested fat gives twice the number of stem cells, compared to the usual technique of fat harvest, volume per volume.”
Santos observes that most male patients are concerned about boosting their energy levels, libido and erection. Women want to improve on their appearance. In all, the effects could last for five years.
“One of the benefits of stem cell therapy is improvement on tightening the face and healthier hair,” said Santos. Instead of a facelift, stem cells can restore volume on sunken areas of the face and even sculpt it. “The difference between fillers from your fats is that it will degenerate. Only 30 percent will be retained. However, if you enrich the fat with stem cells, the retention is about 80 percent.”
The procedure costs P150,000 to P250,000.
Before the patient undertakes stem cell treatment, the clinic checks if he’s up to it.
“You go through the medical history, aging concerns such as quality of sleep, hypothyroid, weight gain, slow metabolism, hormonal imbalance, hot flushes and frequent urinary tract infection,” said Santos.
The patient undergoes a diagnostic testing called corpage (derived from the French word “corps” or body and “balayage,” which means scan). It uses biosensors, oximetry (a procedure which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood) and pulse wave analysis which detects early signs of vascular disease. It can detect neurologic disorders, emotional states, stress factors, bone density estimations, lactic acid evaluations, screen for diabetes, bladder, prostate, digestive and renal disorders, indications of side effects from medicines and even provides a follow-up study on chemotherapy effectiveness and side effects.
“These technologies are for decision-making at point of care,” explained Santos. “I have immediate information. Unlike before, you take a blood test and wait for days to get the results.”
Corpage will also indicate if the patient needs to take other lab tests. “Some patients complain about not getting the results from stem cell treatment. Maybe they don’t need it. Corpage gives me the opportunity to learn if you need it. It guides me if I need to further investigate an area.”
Santos points out that there have been studies on stem cell treatment and improved heart health. “If you are aging, the heart tends to weaken. If your heart is strong, everything is revitalized. Circulation is improved.” The clinic brochure also underscores how stem cell treatment can put diabetes into remission.
Stem cell brings benefit to Alzheimer’s, autism, muscular and joint pains, vital organs, menopause symptoms, sports injuries, strokes, emphysema.
StemGenics is at Westwood Condominium, 23 Eisenhower St., Greenhills. Contact tel. nos. 7271991 to 96, 7275359 and 0920-9614504.