How and where is my therapy done?
Our team will welcome you upon arrival at the airport and will bring you to your hotel. After checking in you will on the next day visit our physician, who is a medical specialist for the disease you suffering from. All treatments are performed under medical supervision of the finest medical specialists including neurosurgeons, neurologists, cardiologists, anaesthesists, pedriatricians, orthopedic surgeons and radiologists. The clinics have the highest possible medical standard and patient are taken care off by a professional team of physians, nurses, patient advisors, and other assistants like drivers and translators to guarantee an optimal stay and treatment.
Treatment protocols at the A1 Medical Center leverage stem cells from one or more of the following tissue sources.
Adipose (fat) tissue
Autologous adipose-derived (fat) stem cells – the richest source of mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, adipose-derived cells are ideally suited for treating systemic autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. They also play a significant role in regenerating injured tissue. Adipose tissue also contains T-regulatory cells which modulate the immune system.
Because we have all three major adult stem cells sources at our disposal, including the ability to expand cells into larger numbers when indicated, we can select optimal stem cell combinations for each disease and, if necessary, each individual we treat.
Why does adipose stem cell treatment take more than one week? – Intravenously administered adipose-derived stem cells will tend to migrate back to the fresh wound site if it is not given an adequate time to heal. Therefore, it is essential to allow about one week after the mini-liposuction before administering any stem cells intravenously. Otherwise, there is a high likelihood that the treatment will not be effective. Additionally, it takes 5 five days to thoroughly test the adipose cell samples for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. In order to ensure that no patient receives an infected sample, at least 5 days must transpire before the cells can be confirmed safe and injected back into the patient.
Human umbilical cord tissue
Allogeneic human umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells (HUB) – a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells. Umbilical cord tissue-derived cells are best suited for tissue regeneration due to the tissue repairing function of the mesenchymal stem cells. They are also well-suited for immune system modulation and reducing inflammation.
Autologous (the patient’s own) bone marrow-derived stem cells – a good source of CD34+ stem cells (but a poor source of mesenchymal stem cells) bone marrow-derived stem cells provide support for tissue regeneration via revascularization properties and their ability to support mesenchymal stem cells in the body.
The entire medical procedure consists of 4 parts:
- Bone marrow extraction
- Isolation, analysis and concentration of the stem cells in the laboratory
- Stem cell implantation
- Post treatment care
The procedure is performed in compliance with the principles of “Good Manufacturing Practice” and in accordance with the latest technological and medical standards. The risks associated with adult stem cell therapy are very low and are no different from the risks normally associated with similar surgical procedures. The therapy involves the use of the patient’s own cells, so the risk of rejection -as there would be in a cell or organ transplant procedure from a donor- can be excluded.
Patients travelling from abroad for stem cell therapy are met by a A1 Medical Center employee at the airport and accompanied to their hotel or to the clinic. Generally, our patients do not require round-the-clock care, so they stay in a hotel for the duration of their treatment. The transfers from the hotel to the institute and back are organized by A1 Medical Center. In-patient treatment can be arranged for those who require professional medical monitoring/care.
Bone marrow extraction
Bone marrow is extracted from the hip bone by one of our physicians. This procedure normally takes around 30 minutes. First, local anesthetic is administered to the area of skin where the puncture will be made. Then, a thin needle is used to extract around 150-200 ml of bone marrow. The injection of local anesthetic can be slightly painful, but the patient usually does not feel the extraction of bone marrow. Bone marrow collection for children, adult patients with cerebral palsy, or Alzheimer is performed under general anesthesia. Once the bone marrow has been extracted, the patient may return to his or her hotel.
Processing of the stem cells in the laboratory
First, the stem cells are isolated by seperating them from the red and white blood cells and plasma. The sample is processed according to cGMP approved standards under sterile conditions so that the stem cells, which will be administered to the patient, cannot be contaminated with viruses, bacteria or fungi. After processing the sample is tested for the number and the quality of the cells, as well as for sterility. Each sample is also tested for the presence of viral markers such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and cytomegalia. The entire process is documented and the concentrated stem cells are not released for administration until all quality criteria have been met.
Only if there are enough viable stem cells, i.e. more than 300.000 CD34+ cells with over 80 percent viability, the stem cell concentrate is released for patient administration.
After collection, the samples are processed in the UK in an affiliated cGMP laboratory under UK MHRA and Human Tissue Authority (HTA) control. This guarantees the quality of your sample.
Stem cell implantation
The method of stem cell implantation depends on the patient’s condition. There are basically 5 different ways of administering stem cells:
- Intravenous administration
- Administration via catheter using angiography
- Direct injection into the target area
- Injection into central nervous System by lumbar puncture or catheter
- Surgery in case of stroke and SCI
The majority of patients is not negatively affected by stem cell therapy and can normally leave a few hours after the implantation procedure.
There is a 24-hour patient hotline in case patients have any queries after they have been discharged. The patients also stay in contact with their physician or a patient consultant by telephone or email, so that we can monitor their progress. For example, this enables the modification of insulin dosage after stem cell therapy and the institute is able to provide patients with recommendations for their further rehabilitation.
It is important to understand that while stem cell therapy can help alleviate symptoms in many patients and slow or even reverse degenerative processes, it does not work for all patients. Consequently, A1 Medical Center can neither predict nor guarantee success for individual patients who undergo stem cell treatment.
Based on additional information, patient’s current health situation and/or unforeseen health risks, the medical staff can always, in the interest of the individual patient, propose another kind of stem cell transplantation or in exceptional situations cancel the treatment at A1 Medical Center.