• What are stem cells?

    Stem cells are very simply defined. They are a cell that can divide and make two daughter cells, and those daughter cells can differentiate into more than one kind of cell in the body.

  • What are adult stem cells?

    Adult stem cells are cells created any time after birth. They include umbilical cord stem cells, bone marrow-derived stem cells and fat-derived stem cells. Non-adult stem cells are embryonic stem cells and come from before birth.

  • What’s the main difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?

    The main difference between embryonic and adult stem cells is that adult stem cells have a limited differentiation capacity. Embryonic stem cells, by definition, are pluripotent, which means they can become anything in the body.

  • What is the difference between autologous and allogeneic stem cells?

    Autologous cells are cells that come from a patient. Allogeneic cells are cells from a donor. Allogeneic stem cell therapy has the potential to acutely treat patients when there isn’t time to harvest the patient’s own stem cells (such as a heart attack or stroke). Autologous stem cell therapy should be used for chronic conditions where treatment can be scheduled. Using the patient’s own stem cells limits immune rejection issues that could occur over time.

  • What kind of stem cells does Okyanos use?

    We use a patient’s own stem cells obtained from adipose (fat) tissue during a liposuction procedure. Stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is a rich mixture of stem cells that we isolate using a closed/sterile, single use cell isolation system that frees stem cells from the fat tissue using an enzyme. This is known as enzyme-derived SVF.

  • Why is enzyme-derived SVF superior?

    There are two kinds of Stromal Vascular Fraction: Enzyme-Derived and Mechanical. Mechanical generation of SVF yields cells that are not as functional as enzyme-derived SVF, since they have a reduced ability to secrete proteins and exosomes, and are less metabolically active.
    We use enzyme-derived SVF--which survives transplantation and grafts better than mechanical SVF. The Okyanos enzymatic process yields a rich mix of mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells, and endothelial progenitor cells. Mesenchymal stem cells from enzyme-derived SVF have been shown to be safe to use in IV treatments while Mechanical generation of SVF cannot be used intravenously because of the risk of embolization or release of particulates into the bloodstream. IV infusion leads to system-wide cell distribution and activation of a patient’s endogenous repair systems. This is excellent for neurologic, autoimmune and overall health.
    Sources:

      Lockhart RA, Aronowitz JA, Dos-Anjos Vilaboa S. Use of Freshly Isolated Human Adipose Stromal Cells for Clinical Applications. Aesthet Surg J. 2017 Jul 1;37(suppl_3):S4-S8.
      Ra JC, Shin IS, Kim SH, Kang SK, Kang BC, Lee HY, Kim YJ, Jo JY, Yoon EJ, Choi HJ, Kwon E. Safety of intravenous infusion of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in animals and humans. Stem Cells Dev. 2011 Aug;20(8):1297-308.
      Aronowitz JA, Lockhart RA, Hakakian CS. Mechanical versus enzymatic isolation of stromal vascular fraction cells from adipose tissue. SpringerPlus 2015;4:713.

  • How is SVF superior to PRP therapy?

    Platelet-rich plasma therapy(PRP) principally consists of a mixture of platelets, platelet-derived growth factors, and exosomes present in whole blood when collected. PRP may or may not contain white blood cells, however PRP contains very few circulating stem cells to enrich or contribute to the exosome and protein pool. Through an enzymatic process, SVF provides mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells and endothelial cells. Both the rich yield of stem cells and the mix of cell types derived from adipose tissue make stromal vascular fraction (SVF) superior. These cells continue to release proteins and factors into the tissue, which promotes a broader spectrum of tissue repair. PRP may have some therapeutic potential, however, the likelihood of sustained benefit is limited.
    Sources:

      Sicot, J. An evidence-based evaluation on the use of platelet rich plasma in orthopedics – a review of the literature. 2017; 3: 57. Published online 10/09/2017
      Aronowitz JA, Lockhart RA, Hakakian CS. Mechanical versus enzymatic isolation of stromal vascular fraction cells from adipose tissue. SpringerPlus 2015;4:713.
     

  • How is SVF superior to bone marrow stem cells?

    The stem cells in SVF and bone marrow both have mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells. However, as we age, the stem cell capacity of bone marrow is diminished due to fatty, fibrotic transformation, while that of adipose (fat) tissue remains robust. With enzyme-derived SVF, stem cells are released from the fat tissue matrix, becoming highly pure and potent. Compared to SVF, bone marrow has a limited therapeutic effect.
    Sources:

      Sicot, J. An evidence-based evaluation on the use of platelet rich plasma in orthopedics – a review of the literature. 2017; 3: 57. Published online 10/09/2017
      Aronowitz JA, Lockhart RA, Hakakian CS. Mechanical versus enzymatic isolation of stromal vascular fraction cells from adipose tissue. SpringerPlus 2015;4:713.

  • How is SVF superior to umbilical cord stem cells?

    With SVF, patients are treated with their own cells (autologous cell therapy) vs. those of another individual’s baby umbilicus (allogeneic cell therapy). Both contain a rich mixture of mesenchymal stem cells, the conductor of tissue repair, but cord tissue consists of a lower frequency of these cells per volume than fat. The potential therapeutic benefit of mesenchymal stem cells is high, however, for patients with chronic conditions, repeat treatments with allogeneic umbilical cells increases the risk of developing an adverse immune response. Using the patient’s own stem cells limits immune rejection issues.
    Sources:

      Jin HJ, Bae YK, Kim M, Kwon SJ, Jeon HB, Choi SJ, Kim SW, Yang YS, Oh W, Chang JW. Comparative analysis of human mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord blood as sources of cell therapy. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Sep 3;14(9):17986-8001.
      Aronowitz JA, Lockhart RA, Hakakian CS. Mechanical versus enzymatic isolation of stromal vascular fraction cells from adipose tissue. SpringerPlus 2015;4:713.

  • Is adult stem cell therapy safe?

    There is clear evidence that adult stem cell therapy done by competent physicians, well-schooled in the latest techniques, is safe. Fifteen years ago, there was a real cancer risk concern with adult stem cell therapy. That has not been demonstrated in the dozens, if not hundreds, of clinical trials to date.

  • Is SVF safe?

    Stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is associated with a good safety record. The risk of SVF is associated with liposuction, which is done hundreds of times a day, and that risk is ultimately associated with the liposuction wound itself. Remember, lots of people have liposuction, not for stem cells, but for cosmetic reasons. So, liposuction is deemed a safe procedure.