Does your age impact stem cell treatment success? We have looked long and hard through the years for an association between age and treatment success, but for the most part, the results have been inconclusive. A number of scientific papers have been published on the topic, but now chiropractors are bringing this claim back to life. Despite using dead amniotic tissue and fraudulently claiming that they are using live stem cell products, these people are claiming that one must use young stem cells in older patients. Is there any truth to this assertion? Here’s what you need to know.
Stem Cell Registry
In order to answer whether or not age affects stem cell treatment success, let’s look at what a stem cell registry is. A registry, in general, tracks patients at targeted time points following a procedure over many years. In a registry, validated functional questionnaires track each patients’ outcomes and their complications or side effects.
In our orthopedic industry, these registries exist for knee and hip replacements as well as other surgical procedures. Registries also exist in many other areas of medicine, such as cancer registries or trauma registries.
A stem cell registry, such as the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation Registry, provides the same useful data and outcome information for stem cell providers and their patients. This maintains the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes and the quality of the treatment that they receive. Stem cell registry data can also help providers determine which stem cell treatment strategies would be best for additional research. This continued research is imperative in the investigative field of orthopedic stem cells.
Registry Data and Published Research
Through years of collecting and analyzing stem cell registry data on our patients, we have continued to search for a relationship between age and poor outcomes. Without registry outcomes to show otherwise, it would be simple to assume that since older patients have fewer and aging stem cells, treatments using their own stem cells would show poorer outcomes. However, based on our data and research publications, that relationship largely does not exist.
For example, in knee stem cell treatments, we found no correlation between age and outcome when comparing age groups (i.e., ≤50 years, 51–60 years, and >60 years).
In treating orthopedic conditions, age does not affect stem cell treatment success. Older patients do just as well as younger patients with precise injection of their own stem cells. In fact, the only exception to a negative correlation with age and outcome that we have seen thus far is with hip arthritis. We found that patients ≤ 55 years old were more likely to report greater than 50% improvement. The poorer hip arthritis outcomes here, however, seem to be as much related to older age as to the severity of arthritis on an X-ray or an MRI.
Trust Your Own Stem Cells
Despite the massive amounts of published research on this topic, sadly, there are sales reps pushing dead amniotic or cord-blood tissue and falsely claiming that these processed and packaged products are live stem cells. There are also other providers out there selling this lie to their patients. Taking this scam a step further, these same groups are claiming that young stem cells are needed for older patients’ treatment.
It is obvious that a young, dead stem cell is not more biologically active than an older live cell. A dead cell is a dead cell regardless of the age of the person that it came from. Additionally, we have been excited about the possibility that young tissue in amniotic products could help older stem cells. However, in the end, lab research demonstrated that these younger amniotic tissues were actually more harmful than helpful to older stem cells.
Dead amniotic cells are not magic and do not suddenly spring to life once injected. Please do not believe the amniotic scams. Realize that these procedures are not magic and that they do have a success and failure rate just like any other procedure. Our research shows that for the most part, age doesn’t define the success or failure of a stem cell treatment with your body’s own cells.
At Regenexx Tampa Bay, we aim to provide our clients with only the best non-surgical orthopedic alternatives. If you would like more information or better understand if Regenexx is right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.