stem cell FAQ/Glossary
Where is the treatment performed?
All treatments are performed under medical supervision in our medical centers around the globe. The patient is surrounded by a team of medical experts including neurologists, cardiologists, anaesthesists, pedriatricians, orthopedic surgeons and radiologists. The clinic has the highest possible medical standard and patient are taken care off by a professional team of nurses, patient advisors, drivers and translators to guarantee an optimal stay and treatment.
How much does it cost?
The price varies depending upon the implantation method(s) employed.Standard procedures and prices are depends on the treatment method and place where the treatment take place.
There may be additional charges for special cases such as those involving general anesthesia or multiple implantation methods.
Does the price include flights and hotel?
No. The price does not include travel expenses such as air fares, meals, or hotels.
How long will I be in treatment place?
For most procedures, you will be in the tretment country for 3 – 5 days. The entire trip will take 7 or 8 days including travel days. However, for surgical procedures, the trip might be slightly longer and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Will I be hospitalized?
For most procedures, bone marrow collection and stem cell implantation are both out-patient procedures. You will return to your hotel following each procedure. However, hospitalization is available for those who require specialized care (at an additional cost). Heart patients will spend one night in the hospital following their stem cell implantation. Surgery patients typically spend a few days in the hospital following their procedure.
Do they speak English at the hospital?
Yes. Besides English, all the employees are speaking the following languages: French and Arabic. For other languages A1 can organize native speakers.
How does stem cell therapy work?
The biological task of stem cells is to repair and regenerate damaged cells. Stem cell therapy exploits this function by administering these cells systematically and in high concentrations directly into the damaged tissue, where they advance its self-healing. The process that lies behind this mechanism is largely unknown, but it is assumed that stem cells discharge certain substances which activate the diseased tissue. It is also conceivable that single damaged somatic cells, e.g. single neurocytes in the spinal cord or endothelium cells in vessels, are replaced by stem cells. Most scientists agree that stem cell research has great life-saving potential and could revolutionize the study and treatment of diseases and injuries.
Are there ethical concerns surrounding adult stem cell research and therapy?
Because our adult stem cell treatments use stem cells harvested from the patient’s own body (“autologous cells”), there are no ethical or moral concerns.
Bone Marrow Collection (BMC)
How does the doctor collect my bone marrow?
About 150-200 ml of your bone marrow is collected from your hip bone by thin-needle mini-puncture using local anesthesia.
For children, bone marrow collection is performed under general anesthesia. For Cerebral Palsy and Alzheimer patients, bone marrow collection may be performed under general anesthesia.
Does it hurt?
Some patients experience slight discomfort or pain, but nothing severe. The next day, you may have a small bruise at the needle insertion point.
How long does bone marrow collection usually take?
BMC usually takes 15 – 45 minutes.
What is bone marrow? Why does it contain stem cells?
Bone marrow is a specific tissue found inside bones. Its main purpose is to produce stem cells, which give rise to the various blood cell types, especially the white blood cells, the red blood cells and the platelets. Each stem cell can form millions of additional stem cells. Most stem cells are found in the bone marrow of the chest, hips, skull, upper arms and legs. If the stem cells develop into fully functional cells, they are released into the blood. A smaller number of undifferentiated stem cells are also found in the bloodstream.
How many stem cells will I get?
It is impossible to predict how many stem cells a patient will receive.
What if I don’t get enough stem cells?
In the rare case that your sample does not contain enough stem cells, it might be possible to do another bone marrow collection. The price of an additional bone marrow collection is 3,000 Euros. The doctors will discuss this option with you if another collection is deemed necessary.
How does the doctor implant my stem cells?
The method of stem cell implantation depends on your condition. There are several different ways of administering stem cells:
Intravenous administration with Mannitol if needed
Administration via catheter using angiography
Direct injection into the target area by way of surgery (brain and spine)
Direct injection in the affected area such as a knee joint
Spinal cord injury by spinal catheter
What are the risks of adult stem cell therapy?
Usually autologous (from the patient’s own cells) stem cell therapy is free of long-term adverse affects. However, all surgery bears certain risks, from the anesthetic, infection, temporary discomfort, bleeding or wound healing problems. The benefits and possible side-effects vary from one disease to the next and between individuals. This should be discussed in detail with the transplant specialist involved in your case.
I heard that injected stem cells could develop into tumors. Is that true?
The risk that stem cells not only support the regeneration of diseased somatic cells, but also increase the formation of tumor cells, is extremely small, but cannot entirely be excluded. This risk is greater with the fast-growing embryonic stem cells and with cultured cells than with uncultured adult stem cells, especially if embryonic stem cells are injected without prior differentiation. Animal testing has not yet found any cancer-causing potential with uncultured adult stem cells such as those exclusively used at A1.
Is it possible to treat me? How do I get evaluated for treatment?
Step 1: Please fill out our Treatment Inquiry Form, you will receive an email with more information and a personal link to our online Medical Information Form (MIF). The MIF is on a secure part of our website.
Step 2: One of our patient resprestatives will contact you by email and telephone
What is a typical treatment schedule?
Typically, your bone marrow will be collected on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Your implantation procedure will then be on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday that same week. Most patients can return home one day after their stem cell implantation. Surgery patients typically stay for a few days following treatment.
Does A1 Medical assist patients with booking flights and hotels?
A1 offers free hotel booking assistance through an international travel agent. On request they can support you with airline tickets as well.
How can I get from the airport to my hotel and then to the clinic and back?
A1 provides a wheelchair lift equipped van or limousine service for a modest charge. This service is offered to and from the airport to any hotel in Beiruth.
Are meals expensive?
Restaurant prices in different countries are comparable or lower to prices in large US or european cities.
What is the weather like?
Beiruth has a pleasant mediterean climate with warm summers and mild winters and and limited rain fall.
How do I pay for treatment?
We prefer that you pay by wire transfer at least 14 days before your bone marrow collection, credit card or paypal, or pay by international bank draft upon arrival at the clinic.
We will provide you with wire transfer instructions. You can also pay at the clinic by major credit card (extra fees apply).
Payment must be made in-full before your treatment can begin. A small deposit is usually required in order to schedule treatment.
Is your understanding of stem cell treatment terminology still a bit fuzzy? Try our glossary to clear things up!
Some of the most frequently used scientific terms are given below
Adult stem cells
Undifferentiated cells, including various types of multipotent and unipotent stem cells, found in differentiated tissue of the developed, adult organism. These cells can renew themselves and differentiate (with certain limitations) into all specialized cell types of the tissue from which they are derived. Adult stem cells can be found in bone marrow or in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.
Haematopoietic stem cell
Precursor of mature blood forming cells
CD34 refers to a special molecular structure, which can be found on the surface of haematopoietic stem cells. With the help of this marker, the haematopoietic precursors can be differentiated from other precursors. CD is the abbreviation of “cluster of differentiation”.
The process whereby an undifferentiated embryonic cell acquires the features of a specialized cell such as the liver, brain, heart or muscle cell.
The product of a fertilized egg. This term extends from the time of fertilization (zygote) until it becomes a foetus, which in the human is approximately eight weeks later.
current Good Manufacturing Practice
“current Good manufacturing practice” (cGMP) is a part of quality management. It guarantees that products are constantly produced and checked according to the highest quality standards underlying the licence documents or the product specification. Good manufacturing practice is concerned with production as well as quality control. A company gets a manufacturing licence if all stages of production and control are carried out in accordance with the basic rules of good manufacturing practice.
Latin for “in glass”. Defines processes that take place or are done in a laboratory dish, test tubes or other artificial environments.
To generate identical copies of a molecule, cell, or organism.
Bone marrow stem cell
Multipotent stem cells from bone marrow; types include haematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
Mesenchymal stem cells
Also known as bone marrow stromal cells. Mixed group of cells from the nonhemopoetic (non-blood-forming) section of bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells are capable of growth and differentiation into a number of different cell types.
The ability of an individual stem cell to develop into only a limited range of cell types. In general, adult stem cells are multipotent. Also see pluripotent and totipotent.
Cord blood stem cells
The vessels of the umbilical cord during and shortly after delivery contain stem cells. These stem cells are in the blood at the time of delivery because they move from the liver, where blood formation takes place during foetal life, to the bone marrow, where blood is made after birth. Umbilical cord stem cells are similar to the stem cells which reside in bone marrow and can be used for the treatment of leukaemia and other diseases of the blood.
The ability of stem cells from a particular type of tissue to give rise to cell types of another type of tissue.
The ability of an individual stem cell to develop into numerous other types of cells. In general, embryonic stem cells are pluripotent.
A treatment in which stem cells are induced to differentiate into the specific cell type required to repair damaged or destroyed cell populations.
Cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells.
Tissue Engineering refers to the production of tissue constructions from endogenous somatic cells. Stem cells or other differentiated somatic cells are used for the construction. In this way, tissue (such as skin or cartilage) can be grown outside the body and then transplanted to the patient.
Type of cell which can form an entire organism. The zygote (a fertilized egg) and the first four cells produced by its cleavage are totipotent.
Usually applied to cells in adult organisms which are capable of differentiating along only one lineage.
See: Regenerative medicine