Stem Cell Therapy

New England Stem Cell Institute

Stem Cell Clinic & Regenerative Medicine located in Glastonbury, CT

Stem cell therapy harnesses your body’s natural healing ability by using stem cells to treat musculoskeletal injuries and conditions like arthritis and soft tissue injuries. The New England Stem Cell Institute is a national leader and pioneer in stem cell therapy. Paul Tortland, DO, and Jeffrey LaVallee, MD, were the first doctors in New England and among the first in the United States to do stem cell-based treatments. All the stem cell-based treatments that they perform use cells from your OWN body, typically derived from bone marrow or fat. Today, they still lead the way, offering an unsurpassed level of skill and experience. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Glastonbury, Connecticut, or use the online booking feature.

Stem Cell Therapy Q & A


 

STEM CELL TREATMENTS 

New England Stem Cell Institute is a national leader and pioneer in the use of Stem Cell-based treatments for orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions.

We began performing bone marrow-derived stem cell treatments in 2008 and fat-derived stem cell treatments in 2009 – the first in New England for both and among the first in the entire country.  Few practices in the country have our level of skill and experience.


The Uniqueness of Stem Cells

Stem cells are naturally occurring cells in the body that have the potential to turn into other types of cells and body tissues.  But they also serve an important signaling functioning, recruiting other stem cells to the target area and triggering nearby cells to begin the repair process.  In fact, most scientists think that this messenger activity is the main way that stem cells work.  

Contrary to what most people think, including most physicians, stem cells do NOT work their magic by actually differentiating into new tissue.  Instead, they largely act as high powered messengers that signal other cells--including other dormant stem cells--in and around the damaged tissue to turn on and begin the healing process. 

Think of stem cells as the Conductor of an orchestra. By himself or herself, the Conductor can only make a little music (if he/she plays the piano or violin, for example).  But when directing an orchestra—with LOTS of other musicians, instruments, sheet music, etc.—the Conductor can coordinate the performance of a magnificent symphony! 


“Stem Cell” Treatments

It’s important to note that currently there is no such thing as a pure “stem cell” treatment.  Whether derived from bone marrow or fat, the solution that gets injected contains many types of cells, not just stem cells.  It also contains healing proteins and growth factors. It’s the total package of stem cells, other cells, and the associated proteins & growth factors that are involved in the healing response.


Not all Stem Cell treatments are the same!

While the use of stem cells is gaining in popularity, it’s important to note that not all stem cell treatments are the same.  How the stem cells are obtained, and how they’re processed, both can have a major impact on effectiveness. In addition, even the best stem cell products will be minimally effective if not administered properly. At the New England Stem Cell Institute, we use the latest technology to harvest your stem cells to ensure the highest quality product.  We also perform all of our injections under direct ultrasound guidance. So you can be assured of the safest, most accurate treatment. 


What types of adult stem cells are used in my treatment? 

The doctors at the New England Stem Cell Institute use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for your treatment. The cells are obtained from either your own bone marrow or your fat using gentle, minimally invasive techniques right in the office.  We do not use embryonic stem cells.

These adult stem cells have the exceptional ability to help direct the healing of cartilage, tendon, ligament, muscle, nerve, bone, skin, and fat cells — virtually every type of tissue except blood cells. 

Cells from both bone marrow and fat have been shown to have excellent healing potential.  Whether we use cells from fat or from bone marrow depends on several factors including your age and the nature of the injury being treated. 

Stem cells from other sources 

Many clinics are advertising “stem cell” treatments using products derived from human amnion, placenta, or umbilical cord blood.  However, independent testing has proven that NONE of these products contain ANY live viable stem cells. Period. While some of these products can be useful in certain regenerative medicine applications, they are NOT “stem cell” treatments! 

Harvesting cells from bone marrow 

Your doctor at the New England Stem Cell Institute harvests cells, including stem cells, from your bone marrow using a local anesthetic and a revolutionary device that reduces the time it takes to extract the stem cells.  After the area is fully numbed with anesthetic, a special needle is inserted into the back of your hip, in an area where the bone marrow is packed with regenerative cells. The marrow cells are drawn into a syringe at which point they’re ready to inject.  The entire process of harvesting the cells, from preparation to injection, takes less than 15 minutes. 

Harvesting cells from adipose tissue (body fat) 

To harvest regenerative cells and stem cells from your body fat, our doctors at the New England Stem Cell Institute numb the skin with a local anesthetic, insert a thin wand into the targeted fat and inject a solution containing sterile water and an anesthetic.  This numbs up the fat so the harvest is painless. It also softens the fat to help make it easier to draw it out in a syringe. 

After the numbing solution sits in the fat layer for 15-20 minutes, your doctor inserts a different wand into the fat layers and gently suctions out the fat. 

The harvested fat is then processed on-site while you wait (about 10-15 minutes).  The processing breaks the fat up into microscopic-sized particles that not only makes it easy to inject into the damaged area, but the processing also helps release the regenerative cells and stem cells so they can begin to work.  From the start of the procedure to your injection, the entire process takes about 60-80 minutes. 


What should I expect during stem cell treatment? 

Once your stem cells are harvested, they’re injected directly into the damaged tissues using ultrasound or fluoroscopic x-ray imaging to guide the needle precisely to the damaged area(s).  All treatments are done right in the office using local anesthesia. For those people who are more anxious about getting the treatment, we offer nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) during the procedure for a small additional fee.  This is completely safe and very effective.


What conditions are treated with stem cell-based treatment? 

Stem cell-based treatments can be used to treat most types of bone and soft tissue injuries. The team at the New England Stem Cell Institute often treats conditions such as:

  •  Osteoarthritis
  •  Meniscus tears (knees)
  •  Labral tears in the hips and shoulders
  •  Rotator cuff tears
  •  Neck and back pain 
  •  Degenerative disc disease
  •  Partial ACL tears in the knee 

If you suffer from ongoing pain and slow-healing tissues, call the New England Stem Cell Institute or request an appointment online to learn if you’re a good candidate for stem cell-based treatment. 

Amnion, Placenta & Cord Blood Products 

In recent years an increasing number of companies have been introducing commercially available regenerative medicine products derived from human perinatal tissue including human amnion, placenta, and umbilical cord blood.

To make these products, at the time of birth, healthy women with normal pregnancies voluntarily donate their placenta or cord blood.  (It’s illegal for them to sell it.) The after-birth tissue is then brought to a lab where cells are extracted, and growth factors are isolated.  The final product is then sterilized to reduce the risk of infection.

Although some manufacturers, and even some “stem cell clinics,” claim to be performing “stem cell” treatments, independent testing has shown that NONE of these products contain ANY live viable stem cells.  They DO contain growth factors that can be helpful in certain circumstances. But these are NOT “stem cell” treatments, and anyone claiming otherwise is either ignorant of the science or is intentionally being misleading.

At the New England Stem Cell Institute, we use some of these products judiciously in certain treatments.  But they’re almost always combined with either PRP or your own stem cell-based product.