These are our most commonly asked questions regarding stem cells and stem cell treatment, answered in one page. If you have any specific questions that are not listed here, please feel free to contact us here, and we will get back to you quickly.
Where can I get stem cell treatment? What other locations exist?
Stem cell therapy is not a widely available treatment, especially for serious conditions. Clinical trials have been done that have shown both the safety of stem cells, and their efficacy in improving certain conditions.
Stem cell treatments for most conditions are still not available in the US or most of Europe, but there are locations in Asia, Panama, and some in the UK. However, we believe it is important to stress that the quality and safety of each treatment center varies widely and should be researched intensely before receiving treatment.
What are stem cells?
Simply put, stem cells are the cells that create all other cells. This means that they create all of the healing cells in the body, but they are limited both in number and in the types and amount of other cells that they can create.
Stem cell treatment, by injecting extra stem cells into the body, provides a boost in the immune system that is needed to address the injuries caused by chronic conditions and diseases.
There are many other factors as well, but these stem cells can sometimes remind the body that there is an injury that needs healing and provide the cells necessary to work on healing the body.
For all of these chronic and debilitating conditions, especially those of an autoimmune or degenerative nature, this stem cell treatment does not provide a cure.
Therapy can provide relief from aggravating symptoms and even reverse some of the symptoms, which is more than current conventional medicine can do.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, capable of differentiating into specific types of other cells needed in the body.
There are multiple types of stem cells that can be defined by their origin or their capacity to differentiate. In terms of differentiation capacity, there are 5 general types of stem cells:
This is the fertilized egg and is considered totipotent because it is the source from which all other cells are created.
These stem cells can divide into every kind of human tissue, with their only lack being incapable of creating an entire organism the way the totipotent cell can.
These cells can differentiate into a limited range of cell types.
Similar to multipotent stem cells, they can differentiate into a more limited range of similar cell types.
These stem cells can only differentiate into one type of cell.
The other important way to define stem cells is by their origin. Stem cells can either be embryonic, appearing only in the embryo, or somatic/adult stem cells. To learn more about the important differences between embryonic and adult stem cells, click here.
What are adult stem cells?
Adult stem cells define all stem cells that exist in the human body. Maybe the best way to answer would be to answer the question “what are embryonic stem cells?” Embryonic stem cells are the cells that exist in the embryo, before a human baby is fully created. Once a baby is born, there are only adult stem cells. These adult stem cells are also more limited in their capacity to differentiate into new cells, often only being able to differentiate into a few specific types of cells, such as muscle, or an organ, or skin.
What is the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?
Embryonic stem cells have a lot of potential in terms of treatment because they have an unlimited capacity to grow and differentiate (they are totipotent and pluripotent). Adult stem cells, or somatic stem cells, are limited in their ability to differentiate. However, there are two main problems with embryonic stem cells: 1) they are controversial in origin, as to be harvested they need to come from an embryo of 70-100 cells, taking away what could have potentially grown into a baby, and 2) embryonic stem cells want to grow into a fetus, and scientists still do not know how to control their growth potential, so as a result they can cause tumors when injected into another person.
How do stem cells work?
Stem cells are part of a new advancement in the medical world called “regenerative medicine.” The job of stem cells is to make more cells, thereby regenerating all of the cells in our body throughout our life times. However, sometimes after an injury or due to an autoimmune condition, our body doesn’t realize which cells it needs to create. New stem cells injected into the body can recognize the injury site or potentially help provide the cells needed to start healing the damaged site.
How do stem cell injections work?
The way stem cells are administered is dependent on the condition being treated and the health of the patient. For detailed information, please see our stem cell delivery methods page.
Will my insurance cover the cost of stem cell treatment?
Unfortunately, your insurance will likely not cover the cost of stem cell treatment. However, our team is sensitive to the financial needs of our patients, and not only do we offer extremely competitive prices, there are also many ways that we can help you raise money to receive treatment. After contacting us, we will help you consider these options and learn about how to make stem cell treatment a more viable option for you.
Stem cell treatment side effects?
Patients will often experience minor side effects associated with stem cell treatment, and some of these side effects are actually a sign of the stem cells working. A patient may experience minor symptoms such as headaches or nausea in the hours following the treatment. In the first 48 hours, patients may also experience aggravated condition symptoms, in which current symptoms might flare and seem worse than before. This is a sign that the stem cells have found their target. Symptoms typically go away one or two days after appearing.
How long will it take to see results?
Stem cell therapy is not a quick treatment. Most patients will not experience any changes during their time of treatment. We typically expect stem cells to reach their full potential around 3-6 months after treatment. That being said, it is not uncommon for patients to continue seeing results up to a full year after treatment.
Does smoking or drinking affect the therapy?
Studies suggest that drinking and/or smoking can significantly decrease the effects of stem cell treatment. Simply put, drinking alcohol and smoking make it difficult for your stem cells to do their job. It is suggested to limit alcohol intake before, during, and after treatment, and to limit smoking as much as possible.
What is the treatment protocol for my disease/disorder?
Different conditions require different approaches to treatment and therapy. For a more in-depth look at our protocol for your condition, you can check your condition page under the “treatable conditions” tab above. If you do not see your condition, you may contact us. We will put you in touch with a specialist who will answer your questions regarding your specific condition (completely free, of course).
How long does the treatment take?
Depending on the type of treatment you receive, our stem cell therapy protocol can be as short as 8 days and as long as 25 days.
Are stem cells safe?
Studies have been done that prove the safety of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and umbilical cord blood stem cells (UCBSCs), for example, this study. These stem cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, DO NOT cause tumor growth or cancer. Furthermore, Beike stem cells have the highest available standards and regulations for the safety of stem cells. Beike has received certificates from many reputable organizations, particularly the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Beike Biotech is the first company in China to successfully obtain this certification and is one of less than 20 in total worldwide. We highly recommend that when researching stem cell clinics, safety should be the number one concern. If you have any further questions regarding our safety standards, please ask us here.
How are the stem cells processed at the laboratory?
A detailed explanation of the procedure for cell processing in our labs can be found here.
How are the stem cells collected?
Beike stem cells come from the umbilical cords of mothers donated right after the birth of a healthy baby. It is a common practice in China for mothers to voluntarily donate the umbilical cord blood from the birth of their healthy full-term children. Every woman who enters a hospital in China to give birth is automatically tested for all major diseases including hepatitis and HIV. Detailed family histories are also collected from each mother prior to donation. This represents the first step of the screening process for donated cord blood. Only women who have been fully screened and found to be completely healthy are allowed to donate UCB.
Are there ethical issues involving stem cells?
There are, but not with ours. Embryonic stem cells have given all of stem cells somewhat of a bad name, as they carry a lot of ethical questions with them. Embryonic stem cells come from the embryo, meaning that to be harvested scientists have to remove a blastocyst, which would have had the potential to become a child. Furthermore, embryonic stem cells pose a risk to patients of creating more harm than good. Right now, science has not quite figured out how to control embryonic stem cells, because embryonic stem cells, which are usually busy creating a baby, can become confused when injected into a patient. Unfortunately, they can continue to differentiate endlessly, causing tumors. In terms of ethics, this problem is completely avoided by using adult stem cells, which are in every human being after birth, and can easily be collected without harm. Furthermore, these adult stem cells do not carry the same confusion as embryonic stem cells and do not try to differentiate endlessly. Adult stem cells are completely safe, as can be seen in this study.
Where do stem cells come from?
Stem cells are naturally occurring in the body and are responsible for creating all new cells that are damaged or destroyed. Specifically, they are made in the bone marrow.
What are mesenchymal stem cells?
Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that are able to differentiate into a wide variety of cell types. These cell types include bone, muscle, fat, cartilage, and more. Other than differentiating into many types of cells, they are also able to secrete important cytokines and growth factors. They help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, scarring, and cell death, providing the potential for improvement in degenerative diseases.
What is the point of supportive therapies?
Supportive therapies are an important part of our stem cell treatment program. We value a holistic approach to medicine and strive to make sure that every effort has been made in all aspects of health to ensure your stem cell treatment works to its highest potential. In particular, participating in the therapies suggested for your condition can help stimulate the injected stem cells to reach the injured sites so you can get the most out of your stem cell treatment.
Do you use embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells?
We only use adult stem cells. Our main concern and focus is the safety of our patients, and because embryonic stem cells pose specific health risks, we do not use them.
Are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) FDA approved?
Autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been approved by the US FDA for specific treatments such as arthritis in the knee or other localized points in the body. Because this treatment is relatively new, it takes time for the appropriate clinical trials to be conducted, studied, and released, and therefore not all treatments have been FDA approved yet.