Stem-cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Bone marrow transplant and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells are the most widely used stem-cell therapies. Research is underway to develop various sources for stem cells, as well as to apply stem-cell treatments for diseases and conditions such as osteoarthritis, heart disease, lungs disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, post-stroke, Parkinson’s Alzheimer, cancer amongst many others. Stem cell treatment is also popular for anti-ageing, regenerative and immune-boosting treatments to prolong and promote good health in older patients. One of the most successful clinics in Thailand is StemCells 21, otherwise known as IntelliHealthplus, which was established in 2010.
Expat Life sat down with two of their doctors, Dr Thein Htut Medical Director who has been specialising in stem-cell therapy and research for over 15 years, and Dr Pornpatcharin Wongsaisri a Regenerative Cells Specialist. We asked what they can offer patients who have been given conflicting advice or are despondent after being told to just live with the condition or to undergo major surgery. Some of the patients cannot, due to their underlying health issues or do not want to opt for their health problems. Most of their patients come from word of mouth, website or recommendations by their friends or family members. The clinic has built up an impressive client list over the last 9 years. Their patients are mainly from overseas, people travelling as far away from the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, China and Russia. Being roughly 50/50 male/female, and visit the clinic for 6/10 or 14 days of treatment courses depending on the clinical conditions of the patient.
With approximately 60-65% of their patients coming to treat chronic diseases and 35-40% of their clients coming for anti-ageing, rejuvenation or regenerative treatment. The cells that they use are derived from umbilical cord tissue and are donated from women who have been carefully monitored throughout their pregnancy and had regular blood tests to ensure that there is no infectious disease or blood disorder. I asked how they accounted for their success, and what, where and why, they were superior to other clinics in the field. Dr Htut replied that their modern clinic has the very latest facilities and hi-tech equipment and is totally compliant to Thai medical standards and that they have their own laboratory onsite processing high-quality stem cells. The cells take up to 30 days to process, then they are frozen until required for treatment. They only use passage 1 cells although research states that you can use up to passage 6-7 and more. The lesser the passage during the processing of the cells, the higher potency and the quality of the cells will be obtained to give a better outcome after treatment.
The FDA has approved five haematopoietic stem-cell products derived from umbilical cord blood, for the treatment of blood and immunological diseases. After an initial consultation with the doctor where they go into the patients’ medical history, review and discuss medical records and conduct a physical examination they create a written report and suggested a course of treatment. They offer a range of different packages depending on the clinical condition and chronicity of the disease and what the patient needs. The stem cells are applied in the different route of administration, intravenous, local injections (intra-articular for joints, paraspinal for back, intrathecal/intranasal for neurological, subconjunctival for eye and intramuscular) preferably without an anaesthetic, into the affected area. The donor’s healthy purified juvenile stem cells together with the stem cells in the host’s body will repair and regenerate the diseased and the damaged tissues, cartilage, neurons,etc.after the treatment. The transplanted cells also generate an immune response that helps to kill off the damaged or negative cells.
The stem cells treatment therapy for all local cells injections is often followed by PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). PRP which is spun with centrifugal force forcing it to the top is then carefully removed and injected together with the stem cells to speed the healing process. This is followed by interstitial medical laser therapy (blue and yellow) to enhance the mechanism of action of the injected stem cells and PRP. I asked how many sessions one needed and what was the percentage of success and I was told that it depends on so many different factors. The age of the patient, the clinical situation, pain or severity of the damage. Some clients report improvement within 2/3 weeks, with others it takes longer – 8/12 weeks. They then recommend a future appointment to monitor rehabilitation and for follow-up treatment if required. The clinic has even created a whole range of nutritional and immune boosting supplements, facial rejuvenation ointment and cream to aid the healing process and each patient gets a prescribed programme as part of their treatment package. They are that confident on the success of their treatment courses that they will offer Expat Life in Thailand readers a free consultation if you write to [email protected] or call to make an appointment on 02 650 7709 and quote Expat Life.