FIRST OF TWO PARTS
Your guide to stem-cell treatments
From lamb embryo to fat cellsBy Alex Y. Vergara, Raoul J. Chee Kee
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Based in Edenkoben, Germany, this clinic for “holistic” medicine offers patients fresh-cell therapy that supposedly aids in the body’s regeneration. The clinic has been in business since 1961, and its founder, Dr. A. Gali, was a distinguished student of Dr. Paul Niehans, the acknowledged father of fresh-cell therapy.
Months after the treatment, not a few patients swear to the therapy’s youth-inducing effects such as glowing skin, increased energy and even longevity.
In lieu of a one-size-fits-all approach, fresh-cell therapy is said to be a tailor-made and organ-specific treatment. Stem cells are derived from the organs of an unborn lamb, and are injected intramuscularly into the patient’s buttocks.
Depending on the patient’s needs, these tailor-made stem cells are designed to home in on particular organs targeted for rejuvenation. For skin and joint rejuvenation, however, stem cells are injected directly on targeted areas.
Villa Medica also does fresh-cell therapy on children afflicted with autism and Down’s syndrome. Stem cells supposedly enhance the brain’s metabolism, which, in turn, leads to better cognitive functions.
Autistics can benefit from it, as fresh-cell therapy also supposedly boosts brain development and the body’s immune system, helping them manage all sorts of allergies and problems related to digestion.
Although fresh-cell therapy is designed to repair organs and, in the process, hasten regeneration, it’s not a cure-all for certain diseases such as full-blown AIDS and acute forms of cancer. Villa Medica, based on the initial medical records provided by the interested party, reserves the right to refuse certain patients.
How much is the treatment?
The four-day, three-night stay at Villa Medica’s clinic in Germany (an hour’s drive south of Frankfurt) costs 15,000 euros, excluding the patient’s airfare and board and lodging for his or her companion.
The package includes tailor-made fresh-cell therapy program consisting of up to nine injections, full board accommodation, round-trip airport and limousine transfers, four weeks worth of supplements, consultation and follow-up with a Villa Medica-accredited doctor, and sightseeing and shopping tours.
But all side trips should be done before the treatment since the patient is required to rest in the clinic soon after receiving the injections. Apart from helping the patient maximize the treatment’s efficacy, staying in bed allows Villa Medica’s nurses to monitor the patient for any adverse reactions.
According to Dr. Geoffrey Huertgen, Villa Medica’s chief medical director, the treatment’s common side effects include minor ones like skin redness, itching and rashes. He has yet to see cases of patients developing major infections.
Call 632-6717489; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Belo Medical Group
Intradermal and intravenous stem-cell treatments
Dr. Vicki Belo, owner of Belo Medical Group (BMG), recently introduced intradermal (ID) and intravenous (IV) stem-cell treatments. A product of Russian scientific research, both stem-cell treatments are said to have been derived from bone marrow harvested from young and healthy Russians.
The so-called Messenchymal procedure of deriving bone marrow from the back of young Russians’ pelvic bones is supposedly better than the older autologous procedure, where stem cells are taken either from the patient’s own bone marrow or fat.
Since you want to look younger, said Belo, there’s no substitute for using cultivated stem cells taken from the bone marrow of younger, more energetic people.
In the case of ID treatment, it’s injected, much like Botox, on specific points of the face and neck to supposedly facilitate faster skin regeneration, tighten sagging muscles and promote the production of collagen and elastin, two of the skin’s most important building blocks.
Belo, who has tried the ID treatment herself during a visit to Moscow, credits it for making her “troublesome” neck smoother and firmer.
As part of a total package, BMG offers the IV treatment, which supposedly promotes overall good health. The patient can do both treatments simultaneously. ID can be done directly on the person’s face and neck, while IV stem cells drip into the person’s system. Both procedures take less than two hours.
Patients are required to stay in the clinic at least 20 minutes after both procedures. There’s no downtime for the IV treatment, but some patients, around 20 percent, experience flu-like symptoms for a day.
How much is the treatment?
A typical intradermal session consisting of as many as 20 million cells and targeted solely on specific points of the neck and face would set you back by as much as $6,500. If you want to add an intravenous treatment to the package, you will have to shell out an additional P25,000.
Call 819-BELO (2356) or visit www.belomed.com.
The Skin Laser and Aesthetic Center
Fat stem-cell therapy
Autologous fat stem-cell therapy or fat stem-cell repair therapy (FSCR) was recently introduced to the Philippines by Dr. Aivee Aguilar-Teo and husband Dr. Z Teo of The Skin Laser and Aesthetic Center.
Its proponents claim that the procedure, which makes use of your own tummy fat, have aesthetic as well as medical and wellness benefits.
FSCR is said to promote anti-aging and skin rejuvenation and addresses hair loss. Korean-Brazilian Dr. Jung Kwang Seup, a proponent, also credits it for helping his patients experience improved general health and even sexual function. (See related Sunday Inquirer Lifestyle report by Cheche Moral.)
The treatment is also aimed at patients with diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as those with hematological, liver and immune disorders, said Jung.
The first step is the removal of fat from a patient’s stomach through a so-called mini lipo or lipo aspiration. The harvested fat is processed in a machine called an automatic stem cell isolation system. The fresh stem cell is then injected into the patient.
The fresh stem cell is intended to stimulate the patient’s body into producing new, healthy cells to repair and rejuvenate the body’s tissues. The procedure takes two to three hours on an outpatient basis.
Fresh adult stem cells are typically harvested from one’s bone marrow, umbilical cord, blood or fat, said Jung. Since it’s harvested from and injected into the same patient, there are no risks of rejection. It also doesn’t carry ethical issues, unlike the controversial embryonic stem cells.
Call 4033245, 5562533, 8280197, 4031982; or visit www.aiveeaguilarteo.com.
Makati Medical Center
Makati Medical Center’s Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory attends to patients afflicted with cancer—e.g., bone marrow transplant for those suffering from leukemia.
The use of the patient’s own (autologous) stem cells, like the ones derived from the blood or bone marrow, is very safe.
Side effects: Patient may experience discomfort such as thickening or hardening of the skin at the site of injection. In some cases, stem cells are administered intravenously or directly into the target tissue.
There’s no guarantee of cure, but reports indicate that early intervention may provide the best treatment outcome.
Stem-cell treatment at Makati Medical Center is more affordable than most local hospitals—some of which charge P3-4 million per cellular therapy package—and cheaper than the treatment provided in neighboring countries like China and Singapore.
Call 8888999; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Luke’s Medical Center
St. Luke’s Medical Center has a Stem Cell Center that is described as a comprehensive facility for people afflicted with certain diseases associated with the blood and bone marrow such as aplastic anemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, relapsed Hodgkin’s disease and many other illnesses of the blood and immune system.
It offers state-of-the-art facilities for cell therapies in the treatment of cancer and blood or bone marrow disorders in adults and children, under the supervision of well-trained hematologists, oncologists and immunologists plus nurses, pharmacists and child family life specialists.
Services include hematopoietic stem-cell transplant for various diseases and specialized in-patient care provided by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals in sterile isolation rooms with HEPA filter. Acute out-patient care is likewise provided whenever possible.
Call 7897700 (Taguig) or 7230101 (Quezon City).
Medical City has a Regenerative Medicine Program that uses advanced technologies in the engineering of stem cells and other biomaterials for the purpose of preserving, restoring or enhancing organ function.
Regenerative Medicine therapies offer unprecedented opportunities for developing new treatments for debilitating diseases, for which there are few known or no cures.
Call 9881000, 9887000; or e-mail email@example.com