Episode 208: Demystifying Stem Cell Therapy
Your Body’s Super Boost: Demystifying Stem Cell Therapy, Uses for Autoimmune Conditions & The Future of Regenerative Medicine with Kevin Ferber
Hi everyone, welcome to the show. My guest today is Kevin Ferber, and he is with American Cell Technology. I think, like all of you, I’ve been hearing about stem cells for almost 15 years. I’ve done versions of it. I tried it for my knee. I have a knee replacement. It didn’t really work great for me.
I did it with a liposuction. You hear about people doing it with their bone marrow. You hear about people going to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Germany. I have a lot of friends who are athletes that are getting incredible success in Mexico and Germany with these stem cell therapies. And I thought, you know what? I want to learn more now.
The difference with this conversation was that their business, their clinic, only uses your DNA. So, I don’t know which is better. Again, I’ve had so many friends have incredible results with the type of stem cell therapy they were getting. This isn’t a knock; this is about a bigger conversation to see where it’s going. Because some of the idea is when you’re using a donor umbilical cord or such that it’s not your DNA, will you possibly reject it later? Something like that. So, their thinking is, Hey, we want to cultivate your cells, bank them for you, and then when you need them, whether it’s the spot, treat an injury, shoulder, knee, something like that, or they’re even putting it in IVs. So for inflammation of the body, even the brain concussions, people are doing this just as upkeep for three, four times a year.
It was an incredible opportunity for somebody to learn more about it from someone who is truly hands-on and ask them simple questions and explore the topic more.
If you are interested in stem cells or have thought about it, we can add this to your knowledge and repertoire when making decisions. I hope you enjoy it.
- The Background of Stem Cell Treatment
- What Exactly Are Stem Cells?
- Why Would Someone Use or Need Stem Cell Therapy?
- What is the Process of Harvesting Stem Cells?
- Stem Cell Therapy and Autoimmune Disease
- How is Stem Cell Treatment Administered?
- Other Health Issues Could Be Treated with Stem Cell Therapy
- Stem Cell Therapy and Inflammation
- Stem Cell Therapy for Overall Health
- Super Boosts of Stem Cells
- How to Find a Doctor That Will Prescribe Stem Cell Therapy
- Stem Cell Therapy Rejection
- Personal Stem Cell Therapy vs. Donor Stem Cell Therapy
- Stem Cell Therapy and Beauty
- Hair Regeneration with Stem Cell Treatments
- Stem Cell Therapy and Sexual Health
- The Cost of Stem Cell Therapy
- FDA Regulation of Stem Cell Therapy
- Lengthening Your Telomeres
- Is Regulation Needed for Stem Cell Therapy?
- Stem Cell Therapy and Professional Sports
Welcome to the Gabby Reece Show, where we break down the complex worlds of health, fitness, family, business, and relationships with the world’s leading experts. I’m here to simplify these topics and give you practical takeaways that you can start using today. We all know that living a healthy balanced life isn’t always easy. Let’s try working on managing life a little better and have some fun along the way. After all, life is one big experiment, and we’re all doing our best.
How many people do you know that have back pain? Me. I personally had back pain for years. I’d pull my back once a quarter. I’d lift too much, and I’m like, okay, it’s an injury. I’ll get over it. And then, a few years ago, I pulled it and was pulling it every week where I couldn’t work out. It was impeding my life. If I had a long weekend and got on a flight back home, I’d had pain on the whole flight, pain in the bed.
And this again anecdotally, but one of the clinics I worked with injected my lower back with cells, and I had two dehydrated discs and a herniated disc, and, knock on wood, in the past two years, I’ve had zero back pain. And so it pulled in some herniation, and maybe it regenerated a disc a bit, but you can’t really tell with the back pain where it’s actually stemming from.
But I haven’t had that pain, so will I get touchups? Probably. But that for me is in my thirties and having that back pain. So, I was just going to accept that for the next 30, 40 years? Like we had a doctor that, one of my dear friends now who spoke, he’s about 70 now, but he had knee pain for 20 years, 25 years. And he just started getting this a handful of years ago, and he’s got no knee pain now. It’s fantastic. He says I can fly my airplane with no pain. I’m able to move around. He said I just accepted that this was the quality of my life until I die.
Kevin Ferber, thank you for coming here.
Thank you for having me, Gabby.
First of all, maybe you could share what you do, where you work, and how you got into this job.
Yeah, absolutely. So, I run a personal stem cell bank called American Cell Technology, based in South Florida, outside of Fort Lauderdale. And what we do is we work with a little over a hundred clinics across the country that do personal stem cell therapy, and where they’ll take out a tablespoon of fat or bone marrow from your body. They could isolate stem cells at their bedside and give them back to you the same day. But what they can also do is take out another tablespoon of bone marrow fat and send it to our facility in South Florida, where we will isolate the cells in our clean room FDA registered and inspected environment, and then feed those cells stem cell food, and naturally self-replicate so that we can get billions of cells instead of tens of millions of cells, and then cryopreserve them in time.
So then, clients and patients have access to their youngest cells in time for future use, whether it’s therapeutic or other types of uses as they see fit by them and their practitioner.
And a little bit about my background. I don’t come from a science background. I went to Amherst College. I was an Econ/PolySci double major. I started in the finance route, investment banking out on the West Coast, and I started visiting one of my good friends. His father was one of the leading stem cell physicians down in LA. I started seeing the impact that he was having on his patients, and he was always a real health and wellness buff. And you can only be so passionate about finance, so seeing the benefits that he was having and the impact he was having on his patients, I just knew I had to get involved somehow. And so, over the years, I kept maintaining contacts and relationships with doctors and people in the stem cell industry in general and took on this opportunity to help run this bank and help it grow and get the message out there about what’s available here in us.
So when did stem cell treatments start, and what was the hope when they started? Because we’ve been hearing about it for the last 10 to 15 years.
I don’t know when it started. Some doctors I work with have been doing stem cell therapy in the US since 2009. I think. When people hear the word stem cells, it’s very misunderstood about what that means. And so, back in the eighties, you’d heard about stem cell therapy and embryonic stem cells, and no one is using embryonic stem cells. I know it’s a very politicized debate, but no one has used it for 15 or 20 years. And so when we’re talking stem cells, we’re talking purely, in my aspect, mesenchymal and adults autologous, so meaning your own cells. Still, there have been stem cell treatments in the past 20 years in the US. Whether that’s your personal cells or donor cells from cord blood/cord tissue, I think a lot is going on in hematopoietic stem cell transplant research as that’s been going on for 30 years where you might have had the opportunity to store your baby’s cord blood for donor use as well.
So you often hear that you’re getting donations from the umbilical cord. I hear that the most. Am I off on that?
No, you’re not. And a lot of that is that industry, the cord blood/cord tissue banking’s been around for 30 years. And so when you go into the hospital, the delivering nurse or OB might say, “Hey, do you want to store your cord blood/cord tissue, or would you like to donate it?” And so there are private and public banks. There needs to be more understanding for parents. So they said, “Okay, why would I store my child’s cord blood/cord tissue?” And really, their answer is, typically, “I would do anything for my kid!” But they don’t actually know its use.
The beauty of that cord blood is that you have your child’s youngest stem cells in time. However, there’s such a limited amount of stem cells in there that it might not even be good for one-time therapeutic use. I can get into numbers, but it’s a couple hundred thousand cells in a cord blood sample versus at our bank, we can get billions, but at minimum, people are getting out 10 million cells up to 150 million cells at a time.
So a couple hundred thousand really doesn’t push the needle. And to your point, on cord blood, if there is a donor core blood or with someone else’s DNA, there is still a risk of graft versus host disease, which is when your body rejects foreign DNA because there is foreign DNA in that cord blood sample.
And there are plenty of research papers on hematopoietic stem cells and the potential of graft versus host disease.
Wait, let’s stop there for just one second. For example, I did save one of my daughter’s cells. I was here in Santa Monica. We had that was 19 years ago. So you’re saying even with that it’s her youngest cells that she has, could they send that to you, and you can multiply those?
It’s a great question. We have a newborn side called Vital Cells, and it’s very different than what you did 19 years ago and what other current cord blood/cord tissue banks are doing today.
So they took your daughter’s cord blood or cord tissue, and they cryopreserved it, and so the best part, as I said, is your youngest cells, but there’s such a limited amount. And so if you don’t culture-expand those before you cryopreserve, they might be eaten away either by red blood cells when cryopreserved or if you don’t isolate and grow out the stem cells before you preserve if it’s a cord tissue. When you thaw that sample, there is some die-off. So there might not be any live cells or a very limited amount of live cells.
Many people call and say, “Hey, I have my child’s cord blood/cord tissue at another bank. We’d love to send it to you to culture-expand it so that it’s actually useful.” It’s just too big of a risk for us because it’s going to be a lose-lose. There’s a good chance there’s not enough cells for us to grow out, and then we’re the bad guys. And so we say, “Hey, your best option’s probably just getting a table tablespoon of fat from them.” But moving forward, we have this option now. And I have all my friends signed up, as they’re having babies n.w, to send in their baby’s cord blood/cord tissue sample so we can get the stem cells and grow them out as soon as we get the sample.
So they get the sample, explain to people where this comes from, because from adults it’s from fat or is it fat and or bone marrow or is it both or what is it?
So, there are stem cells all over the human body. We found that it’s easy to get a tablespoon of fat out of clients, and there are plenty of healthy young stem cells in that fat. A lot of people are working with bone marrow cells as well.
It’s a little more invasive, as you can imagine. And actually, what we’re seeing is that the bone marrow stem cells tend to be older than the adipose fat cells because, as you think about it, your stem cells and your bone marrow are constantly being churned over and put to use versus your adipose cells tend to stay dormant. And if you think about, like if as you go through fasting and your body starts eating away, its fat and getting rid of the senescent cells and releasing some new stem cells, we can get some great healthy cells from your adipose fat and then do the same process we do and culture expand them.
But if you have the opportunity to store your child’s cells, there’s no younger adult stem cell than day one from that child.
Where do they get it from?
Right from the cord blood/cord tissue. So it’s the same process you went through 19 years ago in the collection. It’s painless. It’s known by OBs. It’s very easy. They put it in a collection bag or collection tube for the tissue. And we process it differently. But, for the expecting mother, it’s the same process. C-sections don’t affect it. If you want delayed cord clamping, not an issue. There are a lot of live mesenchymal cells in the cord tissue and both cord blood. But as long as we have the cord tissue, we know we can grow them out for your child.
And for men, is it typically like the waist? And for women, it’s like butt and thighs? Is that where we’re usually getting the fat anyway?
Many people say, “Oh, mini liposuction, great, I could use a liposuction fat transplant.” It’s only about a tablespoon. So they’re typically getting taken from the flank for both men and women.
And since it’s only a tablespoon, even if you have a very thin or athletic build, they’re like, “Oh, there’s no way I can get a tablespoon of fat off them.” The great part about it is that if you’re a heavier-set person, you’re likely to have fewer stem cells in that fat. You’re going to have more fat cells. But if you get a thin athletic person like yourself or Laird, and you can only get ten cc’s of fat, they’re going to be more loaded and concentrated with stem cells. And so we’ll have the same amount of stem cells we got from a larger sample of fat from someone else to be able to culture-expand in our lab.
And then, on the bone marrow side, where are they? Is it from a femur? Like where are they getting that typically from?
It depends on the doctor. I’m sure you’ve seen where they have the hammer, and they’re going into the celiac crest and extracting some bone marrow. And some doctors are fantastic at it and do it under local C anesthesia. And they’re like, “Hey, I’m better at doing a bone marrow harvest than a mini-liposuction because I do it every day. My patients feel no pain.” Personally, I’d rather get mini fat taken out. It’s just slight bruising, and you’re able to go back to your day-to-day activity. I tell everyone the worst pain you’ll have is when you get in and out of your car or a plane because you put the compression of the bruise against the seat.
It’s funny because I had that done. I have a knee replacement, so you can imagine I did a myriad of things, and Laird has a hip replacement. So we’ve done so many different things because that’s a last-case scenario. You don’t really want to get a joint replacement. We were younger, but it was more than ten years ago. We all went in as a collective and did the available stem cell then, which was to take it from your fat. And then spin it and then inject that into the area. It was interesting because three of us went; one guy looked like he got hit by a hammer. His bruise was so intense. Mine was light but significant. And Laird had no bruise at all. I was like, “Of course, it figures.” And it didn’t do anything; I’ll be honest. Plus, I was moving into the bone-on-bone.
Again I’m trying to break this down because we don’t know why you would do it. Who’d be a good candidate? What way to do it? Obviously, for a lot of people, it’s cost-prohibitive, things like that.
Let’s say someone has banked their cells with you, and you’ve multiplied them. Can we talk about it? Obviously, athletic injuries or injuries versus illness and sickness. Could you share some scenarios in which people are completing this process?
What’s tough about this industry now is: it’s your own cells going to work on your own body. So it’s not as if you’re taking a drug. So you take some medicine or opioid and feel something in 30 minutes. Now you’re getting your own cells, which my cells are different than your cells. And if you have a degenerative condition in your knee, it’s different than mine. Could yours be a stage seven versus mine’s a three on the one to 10? We can’t tell you explicitly, “Okay, you’ll feel great in three days.” This guy might feel great in two to three months because it is your body healing itself. And also, when you’re getting that same-day stem cell treatment you mentioned you got, there are about 50 million mesenchymal stem cells, which we store there. And so, again, everyone has a different concentration of cells. Your cells are different, and that’s a one-time use case. And as the science progresses, we’re seeing people starting to regulate how many cells they may need or repeat treatment, or their condition may be too far gone that they may need a knee replacement. But we’re hoping to avoid that. But sorry to get on a tangent.
I think what’s interesting what you’re saying is now that people are doing enough treatments, there’s also maybe, for this type of injury, for our best case scenario, it could be “come back in three more months and maybe get another shot.” They’re adding a bit of form around the protocols.
Exactly. And so you’re starting to see people get more cells or more lengthy treatments or educating their patients as they get more data. It’s, “Hey, this is not a cure-all, but this might be able to mitigate or help.” But to answer your question, who’s actually getting cells? It ranges from health and wellness to your point, autoimmune conditions, people, etc.
Let’s talk about autoimmune specifically. I actually wrote this down: they’re more vulnerable to rejection, right? So I’m curious about how this would benefit people with autoimmunity.
You’re starting to see, for autoimmune conditions, it’s not going to be like, to your point, like an orthopedic, you might be getting a one-time use, you feel better, and then you need touch-ups a few years down the road. But for autoimmune conditions, it’s ongoing. And one of the coolest examples I’ve seen with one of the clinics I work with is they’ve been treating Crohn’s disease, which traditionally has no cure. And what these stem cells are is they’re anti-inflammatory by nature. And what’s Crohn’s disease? Severe inflammation of the intestines. And a couple of younger patients came in, cursing their name, calling them voodoo doctors. And these guys were able to treat them just simply through IV infusion of their own personal cells. And a couple of them actually got off their medication. It takes a certain type of doctor to want to treat those types of patients, but also, they’re not their primary gastro. And so those doctors that have been doing it for 30, 40 years are like, “No, this is impossible. They can’t be off their medication. This is a lifetime medication.” And so it’s one of my favorite examples, and that’s an autoimmune condition where traditionally, there hasn’t really been a cure. There’s really just been a “Hey, why don’t you stay on this medication for your life? And we’ll try to mitigate it as best possible.” I’m not saying they’re purely cured of it, but they’re feeling better.
Is that a once-a-month thing? I’m just curious.
To your exact point earlier, it’s cash-pay now. No insurance covers it besides some companies that are self-insured. And even that is case by case basis. But if it’s cash-pay, it can be financially prohibitive to a lot of patients. It’s not hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it’s expensive… in the thousands of dollars usually. And they may be getting their cells quarterly and monitoring how they are feeling. And so if they can get the cells quarterly, you’re giving them a couple of months to go to work and then having follow-ups.
What’s most fascinating is that you’re starting to see people figuring out how many cells to prescribe each treatment because each person’s different. And as research advances, we see people trying to quantify how many cells to treat for different conditions. And they’re starting to go in the direction of a million cells per kilogram of body weight. So if I’m 200 pounds, roughly 90 kilos, if I was going through some certain autoimmune condition, maybe I’m getting 90 million cells per treatment quarterly. So that’s a lot of cells.
For a layman like me, what does that fit in? Is that mixed with other things, or is there a time it’s a shot? Like when it’s an injury? How big is that?
It’s a fantastic question. So when we sent the cryo vials, we had 10 million cells in two-milliliter cryo vials. And the stem cells themselves are negligible. They’re super small. And so when people get an iv, it’s just going to a bag of saline. And so we go a hundred cc bag of slow saline drip. If you’re doing a direct joint injection, there’s a mix with some saline. The cell’s directly injected into the joints as well. But other doctors are mixing different modalities in there, whether it’s sometimes PRP or exosome’s a big hot topic. People are using some ozone or some other therapies to help cause these cells to be more pro-regenerative by nature; I think you’re seeing some orthopedic guys that will use PRP in collaboration with stem cells because they’re seeing that PRP can be inflammatory by nature, and the stem cells are anti-inflammatory, so they’re cross-reacting. But some of the doctors say what we can do is we can create some inflammation with the PRP and draw out the inflammation, then inject the cells to let the cells send out their signals to combat inflammation and help rebuild that damaged area. And what’s nice is that PRP acts as a cortisone effect. You might see immediate relief right away as the cells start taking time to repair the injured area.
I’ve had PRP too, and it’s pretty brutal right after. My knee was very swollen and mushy, and unstable. Because it’s, again, “We’re going to attack the area and see if the body itself goes, okay, we gotta go over there and take care of business.” So would they do the PRP first and then return in a day or two? Or is it one after the other?
It’d be one after the other. And I think many people do PRP because it’s so easily accessible. So they can get it right from your bloodstream, spin it down, and it has growth factors. So it doesn’t have stem cells, but it has some properties that could help you, that help benefit. But a lot of if you talk to many people that have gotten PRP or at the clinical setting, they’re like, “Oh, this is more of a three-month, six-month fix.” It’s a bandaid. It’s not really regenerating tissue, tendons, and the like.
And what about the ozone? What’s the theory behind that?
I am not an ozone expert, so I can’t really elaborate. I don’t have a lot of clinics using ozone with it, but there’s plenty of literature out there that it’s all the plug words, or the ozone is helping the stem cells be more pro-regenerative and helping them get to the right places, as well.
So you mentioned autoimmune. Are there other things you see from your doctors using your lab for other health issues?
Right now, over 8,000 clinical trials are using mesenchymal stem cells. And so it runs the gamut from autoimmune to orthopedics, immunology to cardiology. We don’t want to touch too much on long haulers, but there is a definite anti-inflammatory effect in your chest that could help, or asthma or COPD, where stem cells could benefit.
But there is talk about myocarditis and inflammation around the heart. So what we’re saying is for something like that.
It’s important, too, for all your listeners to understand: the number one property of stem cells is that they are anti-inflammatory.
So the stem cells are smarter than we are; many of our clients are just giving an IV. They’ll help and give local injections to get the stem cells right on the sites of inflammation or harm, but the stem cells are smarter than we are. And so if you hook it up to an IV, they’ll travel through your bloodstream and find those sites of inflammation, focus in, and then help combat inflammation, whether it’s repairing it, repairing the degeneration itself, or sending signal cells to other cells to help rebuild. It’s been fascinating to see the results we’ve been getting. Orthopedics are obvious because they’re so easy to digest and say, “Hey, I have pain here, and now I no longer have pain.”
But what interests me is this idea of overall health. So let’s start with someone who has a baby. Your baby’s born; what would you do?
I would sign up for the cord blood/cord tissue collection we now offer. I wouldn’t have done it five or ten years ago because it’s virtually worthless if you’re not processing it correctly or culture-expanding it and storing it. Having the opportunity to store my child’s youngest cells today is extremely valuable, but right now, we’re at the most archaic point of regenerative medicine. So what’s to hold 20 years from now? I have no idea, but that could be their most valuable health asset down the road, and for a few thousand dollars, why would I not protect my child as best as I can? I don’t know what will happen to insurance down the road. I don’t know myself, but this is the best option right now, and we’ll see where the science goes.
Let’s say the kid gets sick. Is this something that you can do in adjunct to a treatment that they’re having, that they have this sort of superpowered cell that we know is from their DNA, that their body can accept? Is that the thinking?
Exactly. So you’ll have your own cell’s own DNA, so you have zero risk of your body rejecting that, but people develop autoimmune conditions at an early age. And kids are very active running around the household. Could they use their cells for easy, orthopedic, broken bones, concussions to help heal themselves more efficiently? Absolutely, that’s a possibility. Having that stored, not just for a rainy day, but knowing the future of science and then figuring out how life takes its course, would be extremely beneficial for that child.
How do you then incorporate this? Is it after the recovery process, or can you do anything instantly?
We have the opportunity to have these cells on demand now as well. Instead of waiting, let’s say, three weeks for us to grow them out, you can get them within 48 hours, which is critical. Right now, in regenerative medicine, people are using stem cells as a last line of resort. And so you’re getting the toughest cases that already have a ton of scar tissue or have gone through all the other rabbit holes. But if you get concussed in the field or break your leg, or whatever it may be, if you get your cells to those sites of inflammation and beat that scar tissue and help the body repair immediately, that could help expedite the process.
It will not totally replace an ACL repair, but after the ACL repair, if you can get your cells in there…There’s one study that I listened to in a talk a few years ago where a doctor gave his daughter cells, she played soccer in the Ivy League, and she tore her ACL and got cells, her own cells, back in her knee, and she was able to recover much faster from her ACL injury.
All those are possibilities for your child. And as you get older in athletics, play, in our lives anyway, plays a tremendous role. But it’s a finite time in your life. And it’s such a short time. If you extend it for a year or two years from a mental or a monetary standpoint, it could be extremely impactful for that person or quality of life.
You can stay active and be athletic forever. Laird had a best friend; I’ve mentioned him many times on this podcast, Don Wildman died at about 83 or 84, and he did the senior games; he trained every day. And so we have this organized element of athletics in our life if we ever do that. But then what you start to realize is, even if it’s people who go hiking, biking, or whatever, you want to do it at a clip, not only because that feels good to you that you can push it, but also so you’re not miserable the whole time or the next day. It becomes more valuable for different reasons as you get older because when you can move and keep moving, your life enjoyment is substantially greater.
I could not agree more. It’s so purely on quality of life. And we could get into orthopedic aids, but how many people do you know that have back pain? Me, I personally had back pain for years. I used to pull my back once a quarter. I’d lift too much, and then I’d pull my back. I’m like, “Okay, it’s an injury. I’ll get over it.” And then, a few years ago, I pulled it, and I was pulling it every week where I couldn’t work out. It was impeding my life. If I had a long weekend and got on a flight back home, I’d have pain on the whole flight, pain in the bed. And this again, anecdotally, but one of the clinics I worked with injected my lower back with cells, and I had two dehydrated discs and a herniated disc. And, knock on wood, in the past two years, I’ve had zero back pain. And so I’m not sure it pulled in some herniation, and maybe it regenerated a disc a bit, but you can’t really tell with the back pain where it’s actually stemming from. But I haven’t had that pain. So will I get touch-ups? Probably. But that for me is in my thirties and having that back pain. So I would accept that for the next 30, 40 years.
We had a doctor, one of my dear friends, who spoke, he’s about 70 now, but he had knee pain for 20 years, 25 years. And he just started getting this a handful of years ago, saying, “I’ve got no knee pain now. It’s fantastic. I can fly my airplane with no pain. I’m able to move around.” I just accepted that this was the quality of my life until I die.
And that’s something I really want to encourage people. If there are little things you can do to improve it, keep your mind open because new things are always coming up. Let’s talk about someone who is older and hearing this and going, “Wow, this has really interested me.” Let’s say they’re my age; they’re in their fifties. What’s the benefit?
That’s a fantastic question because I feel that is why you always start hearing umbilical cord. So older people traditionally have more disposable income and go the route. They’ll say, “My, my cells are sad. And they’re not good.” And so they’ll get this donor cell which we’ve gotten into some of the risks of what they’re actually getting.
But we do these studies in our lab with adipose fat cells, bone marrow cells, and umbilical cord blood tissue cells. And we did a comparison of different cell lines. We had some patients that had their adipose and bone marrow with us. We’re traditionally seeing that adipose cells, even 60 – 70- years people, have great lively cells with longer telomere length, which shows your cell health is almost comparable to umbilical cord cells.
We even have a lineage of a son, a father, and a grandmother – of the cell line. And funny enough, we saw the grandmother had the longest telomere of her cells. There is some caveat to that study. As you start replicating those cells, her cells start to become shorter more quickly. But that gets me back to the point that even if you’re going to get a cord blood or donor sample, how do you know that’s better for you? Your own cells – there’s no risk of rejection of DNA, but I’d take the risk of taking my cells versus somebody I’ve never met. We see people banking their cells or getting cell therapy in their 60s and 70s because we traditionally have an older client base because it is cash. And we’re seeing some great results knowing that we’re getting the hardest clients because it’s usually coming as a line of last defense. And that’s part of the education process of, “Hey, we should try this first,” or as soon as you’re injured if you’re able versus let’s wait until this is the last thing. We finally have the money to try it, and we’ll see what happens.
It’s also just getting your best cells at a greater volume to get to work. Isn’t that it? It’s basically like a super boost.
We’re being very conservative when we grow out cells, and we don’t have to get into cell science, but when we self-replicate, it goes through different passages, and we go to passage fibers. It’s a very conservative amount to make sure they’re still healthy. And we only grow those cells to a certain viability, so they’re not overpopulating and killing themselves. We make sure they’re grown in a sterile, healthy environment so that your cells are ready to go. And that’s something we’ve prided ourselves in in the lab to ensure everyone gets their own healthy cells; nothing that’s been overgrown or could have some dead cells in it, but obviously, everyone’s cell line’s different. But the younger we can get them, the more beneficial it might be to you.
Is there something that you could do before harvesting that would benefit you?
If you can get them, there are many different supplements. But the longer term, the healthier you are: as we talked about, if you’re in healthy metabolic condition, you’re not smoking, you’re not heavy drinking, your fat will be loaded with healthy stem cells.
If your lifestyle is terrible, like anything else, you may not have the healthiest stem cells. But there are some great supplements out there that are helping the process. We work with Dr. Nathan Brian, who does great nitric oxide. He’s been around the nitric oxide field for a while, and nitric oxide helps blood flow. And so when you’re getting cells through your blood flow IV, it almost opens the tunnel on the highway to let those cells go to work. And that’s just a small thing to help your cells actually get to the sites of inflammation. If your highway has more freedom to run, your cells can run and go find the sites of inflammation versus if it’s clogged up or not running as smoothly.
But overall, your being in great metabolic health, staying active, and being healthy; you’ll have healthier cells for us to retrieve and then for you to get back down the road.
Thousands of people have come to our bank, and they all have different lifestyles. And that has been an issue in getting their cells and having healthy cells. But moving forward, you’re seeing better benefits from healthier people taking care of themselves. But there needs to be more research to know exactly what the linchpin is there to make sure they’re the healthiest.
In doing the show, what always shows up over and over, regardless of whether I’m talking to a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a GI specialist, or an endocrinologist, is inflammation and how that expresses itself, whether it’s cancer or Alzheimer’s, or diabetes. If someone’s “Hey, overall I feel pretty good, I’d like to get my cells pulled and stored,” is there a way just to give themselves a little boost?
A hundred percent. So to your exact point, almost all these conditions we hear about are naturally inflammatory. And so getting your own cells, whose number one property is anti-inflammatory, to get into your system and focus and find those sites of inflammation help prepare the body because you don’t know where you’re inflamed. You don’t wake up in the morning like, “Oh, my intestine feels a little inflamed today.” And so people that are healthy are like, “I’m healthy. I don’t need my cells.” But you really don’t know what you don’t know internally. And there’s a ton coming out. I know you touched on gut health or anything else people don’t know until later when they have some physical condition.
But people are getting their cells for general health and wellness quarterly. And so, I get a hundred million of my own cells quarterly and for general health and wellness. I get it IV-infused, and people are doing vitamin IVs and cryo chambers. It’s something else potentially added to your tool chest to help you feel better over the long term and see how it impacts and helps your body.
Is there something you feel a few days after, or is it just a raised sense of homeostasis, of well-being? Do you notice anything when doing an IV to cover the basis?
It’s been different each time, which has been fascinating to me. But it makes sense because your cells are different, and your body is just in a different state. And so the first time I got my cells, the best thing I felt the next day (this was summer 2020, and I knew I definitely had covid at some point and inflammation in my chest). And then, I was working out with an air restriction mask because those were the days when we had to wear masks in gyms. And I was like, “Okay, I’ll just wear a high altitude mask,” The day before I got my cells, I had to walk out of the gym, take off the mask and breathe because there was suffocating oxygen. I couldn’t breathe. But the next day after I got my cells, this is anecdotal, but I could do the full workout with my air restriction mask on. And so I just felt like I was breathing at 120%. And that hasn’t happened every time by any means. But if I get them quarterly, I won’t feel anything significant. But you start to see if you had some inflammation (like I had patella tendonitis for a while across my knee), which I’d even realize subsided and went away. Mostly like when you get LASIK surgery, and you’re like, “No, I could always see that street sign,” and you take it for granted.
And that wasn’t specifically into that area; that was just on the all-body reboot?
Exactly. That was just an IV. And it’s not the same for everyone, but I used to be driving for a couple of hours and really had to stretch out my knee. Or if I worked out and did legs, I’d be wobbling around for a couple of days afterward, and that’s something that’s completely gone away over the past couple of years.
So what does that look like? Somebody who lives in Nebraska or St. Louis asks how they find somebody who can take a withdrawal correctly. How does that process look?
So they could always reach out to us or me directly. And we have a partnership with clinics across the country, so we can give them a list of doctors we work with that do this. But funny enough, mini-liposuction is so basic and known by everyone in cosmetics and many doctors. And there are plenty of regenerative medicine doctors we’re not working with. And so if there are people that want to have the conversation about working with us and we can think about onboarding them based on what they’re looking to do in their practice, we can have that conversation. But we do have good coverage across the country. And then, they could get the mini-liposuction done and speak with their provider about if they may benefit from sub-cell therapy and how they can get back their cells, and then that doc could administer those cells to them.
But, let’s face it, I feel like this is the kind of stuff that, for a long time people go, “Oh, that’s not going to do anything.” And I always love treatments that the downside is nothing happened. I love that kind of treatment because if it could benefit, and if it’s experimental or beginning, it’s “Hey, no, it’s great. The worst thing that happens is nothing.”
I want to get back to the fact that most people are not using their own cells. They’re using the umbilical. I think.
It could be donor cells like the umbilical cord stem cells. It could be something that’s not even stem cells. Like people sometimes say PRP is stem cells, or they say exosomes or amniotic fluid.
Can we talk about each of those so people know when they’re hearing things, what they’re actually hearing?
PRP, which you said you went through, is just platelet-rich plasma, so you’re just taking a blood draw, spinning it down, and you’re getting the PRP back into you.
Those have growth factors in them. And amniotic fluid – they say it doesn’t have any DNA with growth factors but isn’t actually live cells.
When you’re talking about donor cells that you’re referencing the umbilical cord, often there’ll be a cell line, let’s say, of a baby that they’ve done testing on. They’ve grown out and replicated those cells thousands of times, then sent them back to you and bottled up them mass-produced because it is a lot easier.
If you can buy something off the shelf, it’s easier than going in for a mini lipo procedure and then coming back and saying, “Oh yeah, I need my own cells,” or even knowing about it. But it’s much easier for a doctor to say, “Hey, let’s try this. We can get it off the shelf.”
And then the same thing with exosomes. They’re mass-produced from a cell line, and those are just signaling messengers, but stem cells also have exosomes within them.
People have gotten their eye off the ball and just looked for things outside of stem cells because of the press or what’s happening in society, saying, “Okay, let me find the next, next best thing.”
Now as we’re seeing this current climate and having access to your own cells, the only downside is financial, and it only works for some, but at least you know that it’s your own DNA and your own body. And so you at least know you’re not going to reject it.
And to your point, the downside is it doesn’t work.
This point is very important to you, this point of your body possibly rejecting it. How do we know that my body rejects it? And in what ways does it express itself?
These donor cells have someone else’s DNA in them. And you could be matched on all fronts, and there’s still a risk of your body rejecting foreign DNA, and that’s graft versus host disease. And that could come three days down the road in skin irritation; it comes 30 days down the road, it comes three years down the road. It could be an autoimmune condition or some hair, skin, or nail problem. And a lot of the research papers you’re seeing more of the graft versus host is in the hematopoietic stem cells because that’s the cord blood that’s been around and done the research for a while. And so you’re seeing more papers on that. But if you’re going to get an allogeneic product, a donor stem cell product, there’s no standard for them to track long-term data on any graft versus host condition. So they will track the first three, six months, a year on if you’re feeling better. But if you developed an autoimmune condition or skin irritation, it’s not going to be traced back to the donor cell. It could be anything, “Oh, you’re in LA; you got too much sun. Oh, you got some vaccine. It was this.” Anyone can draw the lines, and you don’t know exactly where it came from, but it’s tough to trace it directly back to the source.
I will play devil’s advocate because people will be thinking about this. Let’s say I have a back or a shoulder injury, get treatment, and feel better. Part of me says, “I’ll deal with whatever in 10 or 20 years”. But this part really bothers you, doing stem cells with other people’s DNA. So, for someone listening – what they’re doing now – you DO hear many stories about people feeling good.
They may feel good because there are cells in there that can help what you’re trying to cure. So the rejection of someone else’s cells isn’t going to prohibit regeneration potentially of an injury. But as we talked, when we talked in our first conversation, I was like, “Yeah, if my parents were on their deathbed and maybe cells could only help them, would I use donor cells?” But they’re older and don’t have those 40 years to live, so let’s give them the best treatment option.
But right now, the industry has shown that there are significant risks of entering foreign DNA into your body. And I think in the past couple of years, society’s woke up to say, “Hey, let’s start questioning science or medicine, and let’s try to figure out what actually makes sense for me as a human” versus “Let’s just not listen to what one person’s telling me or what one news source is telling me.” But I’d welcome everyone to do their own research. And research graft versus host disease in stem cells and donor stem cells, whether it’s hematopoietic or mesenchymal, and the risk behind it because, if I’m selling an allogenic donor product, is it any benefit to me if I’m not regulated? There’s just no jurisdiction right now on that. Or even pharmaceuticals now. People take any pharmaceuticals; they have no idea of the risk, so why would anyone know the risks of a bottled stem cell product?
I wanted to bring that up because I felt like, “Now I have to learn something new.” I want to feel better and not take pharmaceutical medication, and for any surgery I have, I try my best not to take pain meds after. It’s miserable, and all of this, but it’s how funny that sometimes you want to get it taken care of and then feel better and be good to go.
Would it be safe to say that, overall, it would be good for anyone to use their own cells if they were looking for (whatever personal reasons they had), whether it’s an injury or to feel better dealing with chronic inflammation or whatever?
It’s a great idea to talk to a practitioner in the space. I always caution with, if someone’s promising in the world, turn your back and go the other way. Please focus on doctors who are open to science and open to having the conversation, whether it’s your own or donor cells. If they can tell you the risks and benefits behind it or what you’re actually getting, then it’s a great conversation to have.
The issue that I’ve had when talking with doctors which taking a step back, and I was talking to Laird about this downstairs; when I grew up, I went to the best orthopedic doctor. I just trusted his word. He’s a doctor. He knows everything, and that’s what I will base everything on. But no one was trained to be a stem cell doctor in med school. So, it took extra effort to learn about this industry as it progressed. Because if I was an orthopedic guy trained to do knee replacements for 20 years, I could easily cash in, make good money, do those knee replacements, get re-billed by insurance… It’s great. But definitely talk to those doctors, have those conversations. Still, most folks are candidates, whether it’s for regenerative purposes or general health and wellness, and make sure you’re asking the right questions to figure out if this makes sense for you. But a lot of people can benefit. And the point we’ve talked about is: right now is the start of it. I don’t know what it’s going to be in 20 years. I only imagine it’s going forward.
It’d be cool if they could take your cells and make them how they were 20 years before. That’ll be really interesting.
Some technologies are going on behind that, and people are starting to try to do that. It’s not something we’re currently on, but there are certain technologies that people are trying to reverse aging. That’s a huge focus in society. Everyone wants to live until they’re 250 years old. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case for me, but if I live to a hundred, I want the highest quality of life until a hundred.
That is always the biggest conversation for me, living a hundred, 130, 50 years, whatever…Could you go out with a bang and be full throttle until the last day? Now that sounds interesting. What about beauty? How are they using it in beauty?
Yeah, it is all over the place; some hair restoration doctors use stem cells on the scalp.
Does it work?
You have to talk to them about it, but they’ve seen some great results where you’re letting the cells do their job, where sometimes those actual hair follicles are dormant, and they need some extra help to start growing again. Or if you’re injecting cells in the face, think about nano fat transfers to the face. There are stem cells in that fat. And so maybe those properties are actually helping the rejuvenation process.
Not the fat itself? Filling the areas.
No. The filling of the areas is the fat itself, but also rejuvenating the skin and looking and feeling healthier.
There’s also a lot in sexual health; a lot of work is being done there.
Oh, now you’re really talking. Is that like the “P” shot and the “V” shot and all that?
Or reproductive health. There’s been some success as well.
We’re back to going back to being grownups. No, but let’s talk about that. It’s the P shot, right?
This isn’t my specialty, but the urologist we work with has had some great success with erectile dysfunction, or Peyronie’s. And so those are some conditions that traditional medicine has not been great.
Where do they do that shot? I just never knew. I don’t know.
Directly into the shaft.
Do they really?
That’s going to be the clip that they cut right there.
Into the shaft?
Yeah. I haven’t watched it firsthand, but that’s my understanding.
That’s amazing. And the V shot. What is the V shot supposed to do?
It could be like overall, as women age, it could help their sexual reproduction system. It could make them feel younger like it could be more libido focused. But I think there are a few studies that are actually people that are having a tough time getting pregnant. That could help as well.
Okay. That’s amazing. I want to get back to the beauty thing. Have you seen any pictures or anything?
We’ve seen some full stem cells, which they call stem cell facial makeovers. They look great. But they’ll be like micro-needling around the face.
Okay. So they’ll take the fat; let’s see how it works – we’ll do it with your protocol. So they took my fat. And then they reinsert it back into areas of my face?
Those stem cells are negligible, so it’s not as if you’re injecting huge glumps of fat into your face. And so you could be doing some micro-needling where you can help repair damaged skin because we are talking about those mesenchymal stem cells. They’re the blank slated DNA, and they could become skin cells. And so, if you can get that rejuvenation, but as you see on the market, how many stem cell skin serums do you see on the market?
Don’t ever believe that, people. Topically, you can’t get it done.
So it’s really growth factors. It’s not stem cells; it’s growth factors that come from either stem cell media or the like. And so, there are potential pro-regenerative factors in those growth factors. So you can apply topically…
What do you mean? The tone of your skin or the color? Like the evenness?
It could be the dryness or the evenness. Or have you seen those cameras where they take pictures of you, and they’re like, “Oh, you look 36.” And then they do the skin things and say, “You look 30 now”. It’s based on healing scars or along those lines.
Okay. You’re rolling your eyes now, but in 20 years, you will pay more attention to this. I want you to know. So let’s say you put them in. Is there a healing component that can happen when they put the stem cells in the face? Or is it bringing more healing elements/energy to these locations in the face like this?
It depends on how invasive that process is, where there’s a micro-needling, and someone was like adding cells in it to help potentially rejuvenate faster. But if it was more invasive, you might have to talk to one of my cosmetic guys about their procedure because they’re passionate about it. And again, those are the type of doctors that weren’t trained this way in medical school. It was like, “Okay, here’s another tool to my tool chest that I can add.” And maybe they’re not using exclusively cells, but they said, “Hey, this could make my results 10, 15, 20% better”.
Yeah, it’s a great experiment because the downside is so minimal. It’s really important.
Okay. Cost. This is part of it that’s an ass-kicker. Most people go, “I can’t even open the door.” It starts at probably 20 grand. For, let’s say, an injury, like a joint or a tear. That sounds right.
Is it? That’s good.
So it’s different ways to do, like, when you talked about that same-day procedure where you got stem cells, bedside. That’s the more expensive one.
If you did that and banked, you’re looking like around 20. And that’s to have it in the door. You got your treatment. If you just wanted to bank your cells and go to a practitioner, then the mini lipo – the fat – you’re more talking in the high thousands to up to 5, 6, 7,10,000 max.
And then you would pay each time you need your cells or have them grown out. And then, depending on what the treatment is, you’re spending a few grand or thousands of dollars on cells each time you need them or to prepare. So you could spend $20,000 to have this war chest built for you in the future. You could spend $50,000, but there are entry levels again; it’s not for everyone because it is a big financial investment.
We’re just exploring something out there that many people don’t know about because it’s new.
And what’s nice if you do the newborn side, which is less than five grand, you, that’s just something that’s done when you’re giving birth. So there are no added extraction costs. And so then you have your child’s cells there. So we talked about this offline previously, but some people don’t realize it’s available here and that it’s available at phenomenally affordable prices compared to going out of the US. It’s for more than just billionaires that have connections out of the country or people well connected to go out of the country to get something that is more experimental and a little riskier and leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
What about the way the FDA regulates all this stuff? I know that the head of the FDA has been pretty clear that he doesn’t like this treatment – the notion of stem cells in general – and people will try to put some moral framework around it, which I feel doesn’t have anything to do with it.
No, you’re right. Because when people hear stem cells, they start thinking about embryonic stem cells, which we’re not using. So we could take the morality out of it. So the FDA is an enforcer of laws. The FDA cannot approve your own personal cells because your cells cannot be mass-produced, patented, or owned by someone else. You own your own cells, so you have the right to use your cells through the practice of medicine. And there was a court ruling in California with a California stem cell treatment center, and they went to court with the FDA, where the FDA said, “Hey, you’re manufacturing a drug by doing this stem cell procedure.” And you asked the question: how are they manufacturing drugs? What they do is they take out fat, isolate the stem cells from the fat, and they put it back in your body. Those same stem cells, it’s the same thing as doing micronized fat treatment, except they’re just getting the stem cells they want and putting it back to where you need it.
They said, “No, what you’re doing there is a manufacturing drug. You’re altering the stem cell.” And so they went to court with them, spending millions of dollars for the little man (because if you’re a general practitioner, why will you spend millions of dollars to fight the FDA?) And so these guys actually did it for society, which is fantastic. They beat the FDA and said, “Hey, what you are doing in-house is a surgical procedure.” And when the FDA was formed, there were clear laws that the FDA was not going to have oversight over the practice of medicine. And the same thing in this ruling: expanded cells, like I just said, those are your cells. They can’t be patentable. You own those cells. They’re for the use of medicine, and they’re not FDA regulated.
But we want to work with the FDA because there are a ton of great things about the FDA and how they regulate drugs and food. And it should be safe for the patients, so we want to work with them, and we’re registered and inspected by them, but we want to work with them to make this more accessible and the safest way we can for human society. And so we’re always open to working with them. And hopefully, we can all get on the same page on what we’re actually offering. And we’ve talked a lot about the different types of stem cells; I’m sure he knows all the different types of stem cells, so is he just blanketly making the statement? But there are different types of uses and stem cells out there.
And it is important: Your lab, in particular, is FDA-approved.
We’ll never be FDA-approved. We’re well-registered and inspected because we’re just the custodian of cells. We’re offering a service, so we’re not selling a drug that can be FDA-approved.
But you have signaled yourselves that you have let them know that you’re there and in business.
They come and inspect us for safety. And we operate in good manufacturing practice. And so we want to ensure all our protocols and work with them, be like, okay, this safety measure needs implemented. We will do so. We want them to come into our lab and see our clean environment, how we process the cells, and that it’s safe for the patient’s use. We have all these different sterility testing and all these different processes to ensure the safest environment for these cells and ensure the clients get back their cells. And we want to ensure we offer the best service for those clients so they feel safe getting these back.
Have you ever had a case where you get a sample, and you get cells from somebody, and it’s a no-go?
Yeah, it is a rare case. But it has happened where we would ask for another sample. Sometimes it could come in contaminated, and it’s rare, but it happens whether it’s when the mini liposuction was done and how we got it. It could have been contaminated; there could have been a dental infection in the patient, which could have caused contamination. It is rare, but then we’ll be like, if they’re open to it, please send a new sample. We’re not going to charge anything, just take another piece of fat to be, but it is a rare case, but it can happen.
Or you try to replicate them, and sometimes they fall apart.
Not typically, but when we have bone marrow clients, when those cells tend to be older, they grow out a lot slower. And so we definitely yield a lot fewer cells from bone marrow over the long run because these cells have shorter telomere lengths, and they’re taking a lot more time to grow. So for those clients, we’ll say, please send us a new sample from the fat that would be preferable so that we can have ample cells. And some people have used lots of cells, and they may need to send a new sample. But as technology advances, we’re trying to hold on to a couple of vials of the client’s youngest cells that we won’t touch because we don’t know how stem cell technology will advance too. So those vials might be able to get trillions and trillions of cells. And so we’d like to have those on reserve, if we could, in the future.
You may not be able to answer this, but is there anything you’ve heard or have come up with that people can do to keep their telomeres from getting shortened? Obviously, besides the lifestyle things. Smoking, drinking, stress, not sleeping. Is there anything you’ve heard or floated around that helps support the health or length? Because it is a long thing with telomeres.
There are many products out there that promise you to maintain telomere length. There isn’t a way to reverse telomere length at this point. And there’s none I can speak on specifically, but when we do the tests internally and see telomere length short, science is improving where they’re trying to lengthen telomeres. And can you, and to the exact point, we talked about reverse aging, and so that’s really lengthening telomeres, and there’s not one that I’ve been able to test specifically in our lab or send to externally that I can speak to.
I don’t want to say one’s bogus, and one does work because I haven’t personally tested, but there’s so much out there. To your point, some say, “Okay, this will lengthen your telomeres.” Or a lot of people are saying, “This will maintain telomere length for when we get to the point in 50 years, and we can reverse aging”; then you can use this, which might be interesting if it’s nominal and it actually does its job. But I have yet to come across one that I specifically use.
I understand why we’re scared of dying, but I’m also fascinated at how people will get obsessed with lengthening life instead of living it at this very moment. They’re so far thinking about how they want to live so long, but they’re not actually doing the living in this moment.
I encourage your words of wisdom there because everyone’s looking forward, right? So it’s, “Oh, if you haven’t had this success, I’ll figure this out in 20 years. I became this law partner; let me avoid my family for 15 years, and then I’ll return to it.” I’m with you; I want to live the healthiest life available to have. I’m not necessarily worried about 180 because I’ll probably be one of those grumpy older men, so as long as I live the best life I can with my family and friends up to a point and I can still do everyday activities I love doing and being active, I’d consider that a success.
I’m with you: when it’s my time to check out, I’m okay with it. But as long as I’m walking, I’m running around, I’m being active; that’s all I could ask for.
Cuts and burns and those kinds of wounds – Have people also used it for that?
Yeah, they have used it for wound closure, and funny enough, I have a third-degree burn on my left arm from coffee when I was burned as a 16-month-old.
How, what happened?
So when I was 16 months old, I was in the kitchen and wasn’t being watched. And I climbed up onto the cabinet and dumped a cup on myself from a cup of coffee.
When you think about it, your skin as a baby is so sensitive, and your skin is the same skin you have throughout your life. So this has expanded. It’s always been from my elbow to my chest, but as I’ve grown to be six-two, it’s expanded with me. So I had a ton of skin graphing. This definitely wasn’t an option.
That’s from a cup of coffee?
One cup of coffee that I just dumped over the counter on myself. But I lost no mobility. So, I couldn’t be happier. And I feel terrible for my mother and father having to deal with it more than me because I’m fine. But they had actually to deal with the adult ramifications of it.
We’re seeing some great results with wound closures. Some older patients have had open ulcers that they haven’t been able to close. You’re seeing that in different modalities as well. Not just stem cells but different topical uses like Amniotic fluids as well. One of our doctors we work with treated a patient who got in a car accident where the car actually caught on fire, and he had tremendous burns and scarring on his neck and no mobility there. And so he did his own like a proprietary deal where he tried to break down the scar tissue and insert cells and the repairs; he looks much better and has mobility in his neck to do those day-to-day activities. We see that as a benefit as well. But also, the sooner you get it, if you can get those cells in there before scar tissue starts forming, that’s your best bet for success, than waiting a few years.
Yeah. Scar tissue is a brute. When I had my knee replaced, I had to get I had to get put under two more times because I create scar tissue so quickly that it can really inhibit the healing or the range of motion during the healing. And so they had to go in and do two manipulations, and I don’t know if you know anything about that, but they basically just cranked the joint shut because the scar tissue was building up so quickly. So to your point, if you can get on scar tissue sooner than later.
Exactly. And if you have all that scar tissue, then there’s nowhere for the cells to go to work.
Because there’s no blood flow. Nothing’s happening through there. They block everything out.
So you have the cells go into the body and start repairing the tissue. It’s already been band-aided over by the scar tissue. It takes a lot of work to send out those signals to repair within.
So to remind people again of the different types of stem cells, and maybe explain exactly where they come from because we’re trying to do a 101.
So more specifically, the ones we’re talking about are mesenchymal adult stem cells, away from the embryonic 20 years ago. So it’s from your body. So even when you give birth to a child, their umbilical cord, blood, or tissue are still considered adult stem cells. So they’re multipotent; they can develop into different types of fat tissues, muscle tissue, neuro tissue, and blood vessels. And then there’s a lot of research on those hematopoietic stem cells that can also turn into different types of blood cells. And not to say that mesenchymal stem cells can’t do that either, but that’s worth focusing on because you can isolate those. There are plenty of them in the adipose cord blood and cord tissue. And as well, we can actually culture-expand them. So those stem cells, when we grow them, can adhere to plastic, and we can feed them and let them naturally self-replicate. And so, that’s the important part: regrow them, have them in quantity, and cryopreserve them. Then we really touched on knowing those autologous, if they’re from your own body versus allogenic donor cells, and what the risks are behind that.
And there’s is a lot of great research out there both domestically and abroad, whether they’re trying to reverse engineer or make stem cells younger or from donor cells. And I don’t think the research has been positive enough to say, “Hey, I’d rather run the risk of getting a donor product in this day and age because it still has someone else’s DNA in it.” And so, I always try to be safe and ask the right questions. And everyone has a different risk profile.
So Kevin, is there a doctor or doctors that you have been practicing this the longest or experimenting the most? Are there guys out there if somebody wants to watch someone lecture on this? There are not a lot of books on it yet or anything like that.
Yeah. There are some stem cell books, but they’re usually more self-promoting.
I know your work does this, but I wanted us to talk to you because you don’t have a practice per se. You’re a little more agnostic. But is there someone in the space that you think they’re doing this aggressively but responsibly?
Most of the doctors within my network are doing a fantastic job of treating what doctors were trained to do: helping patients as the first act and the best protocols to do that. I actually just got back from the Cell Surgical Conference last weekend, and they have great modalities of speakers from all across the country.
And it’s not just personal cell therapy; it is allogeneic products. It is your exosomes; it’s your ozone and peptides. And so they do a fantastic job of bringing everyone together and having free speech and letting people decide what’s best for them. But we’d only recommend various doctors in our network that we know how they’ve treated patients and the kind of care they give them, and the process they go through. I don’t want to promote one versus the other, but I’m happy to give it based on where you’re in the country or what you’re looking for.
Our network specializes in orthopedics, urology, autoimmune, or neurology. We have a great network of doctors who are always expanding because many people don’t know about us. So that’s the best part of my job: I get to speak with these different practitioners across the country and find out what they are working on and what they are seeing.
That’s one of my focuses, trying to give them a larger voice to collaborate so that this industry moves forward.
Do you think we’ll find a regulation around this so that people have more access and don’t have to leave the country?
I think the access is there. It’s a need for knowledge of knowing and… marketing’s huge in the US, right? And from your perspective, at one point, you’re looking to go out of the country. And so if you’re out of the country and you make some claims, the US government’s not coming out and shutting your doors. We’re not making any medical claims because people have to do the clinical research. We’ll show the clinical trials, say anecdotal cases, and say, “Hey, there’s a guy I presented last week. They had a 500-person lower lumbar back study and seen fantastic success, ” and we’ll start presenting those cases.
But it’s getting the word out – the knowing you can have access here. When we look at it as a business, and you look at marketing, it’s interesting that who controls marketing in the United States is the two biggest tech platforms. And so the two biggest tech platforms are deciding what you can and cannot market to citizens.
And you can’t actually market for stem cells.
What do you mean you can’t market? You can’t talk about your business?
You could not develop a pay-per-click campaign on Google talking about stem cells.
So what are the two biggest: Facebook and Google?
Yeah, because Facebook’s Meta, they have Facebook, Instagram, and then Google’s the largest search platform. And so those two are deciding what you can and cannot show users.
I wonder why that is. I’m just kidding.
That’s another rabbit hole. We could go for a while.
We’re not going to do that. We’re here to learn today. If somebody wants to talk about these other doctors doing these specific types, share with people where they can start to dig into some of this information. Can you direct them to all the places they can find, or start with you guys?
Yeah, absolutely. They can call our office at American Cell Technology, our website, American Cell technology.com. They can always reach out to me personally or our staff, and we have many doctors we’re happy to send you that were the trusted clinics we’ve worked with that we believe are doing a good job servicing their patients.
Great. Okay, Justin, do you have any questions?
[It’s just the stigma behind all of this. When, like you were saying, the worst thing that happens is nothing?]
[And will it be like a solid marketing campaign, or how do you push this science forward? ]
That was the amazing part about speaking with Gabby, and what I loved about her voice was that she’ll have a conversation with anyone. She doesn’t have an agenda, and she’s very thoughtful about her questions, and when you talk about the other side of the token, it’s people like, “Okay, this celebrity or this MMA fighter went out to this country and did this clinic.” And it’s all word of mouth. And we work with many great doctors that also service those communities, and it may need to be better known. Still, I think it’s part of that reeducation process both on understanding you get in the US but also, like more importantly, as we’ve touched on here over our conversation, is people thinking this is your line of first defense, not waiting to explore all their options or getting that knee replacement as the first line just because it’s covered by insurance. But let them know that this might be a potential, and explore that and talk to your doctor and see if that’s an option. A doctor that is doing this and asks the tough questions and what they’re doing and be curious. And that’s all we can ask is to be curious; it will be more of word of mouth and success stories as it comes, but that’s also what it’s been doing out of the country.
I don’t know how marketing evolves here, and I can’t control that. So all I can do is promote the doctors I work with who have been awesome and had successful cases and those doing the work here. And I’m just getting to watch it firsthand.
Kevin, should I be sad that I’m not really learning this until I’m in my early fifties?
You should be happy because 99.9% of people in your position would’ve just gone to popular opinion and have yet to have the conversation or want to relearn. And that’s what’s been so exciting about talking to you, and what I believed in listening to you previously is how you’re open to learning and you’re not old. Your cells are young, you have plenty of young cells, and you want to be healthy for the next 40, 50 years, or I’m going eventually get to kick your butt in the pool workout. And you don’t want that.
No. And. I’ll be dead before that, and then I can hold my breath for a really long time.
I have to also ask really quickly, with the hair growth, did they inject it into the spots they want to stimulate or wake up the follicle?
They’re still doing a lot. There needs to be a lot more research done on hair because hair doctors do a very invasive hair transplant process. And so this could be another tool for them. Or they could do touch-ups. So they’ve had like really good results, like in the crown. So putting some cells around the crown and then waking up those dormant cells to help regrow hair. That’s more of a touch-up because they don’t want to take away their whole restoration business. I’m not saying that these cells could totally remove the possibility of getting hair restoration, but that’s the primary part of their practice. This is another tool for them to add.
Is there anything I didn’t ask that was really important for this peek into what’s out there and available? Is there something I missed that feels really important?
You did a great job of actually preparing to cover the whole gamut. One part we’ve touched on but would reiterate is people understanding where we sit now; what could be the benefits in 20 years, but do you want to prolong your quality of life? Can we do this now and figure out what happens in 20 years, or use it today? But how do you put the quality of life into this picture? Someone would instead get a $70,000 Range Rover because they can show that off immediately, versus how do you prioritize your health and ensure you have the highest quality of health for you and your family?
And one point we probably should have touched on; the orthopedic side of things is everyone’s looking for a quick fix. And one of my high school football coaches said this best. Everyone wants instant everything, instant coffee, instant grits. And so everyone wants an instant shot and to feel better, but you have to know that your body takes time to heal itself, and it might not be a one time. So when you got that one-time procedure, did you sit sedentary on your couch for the next ten years? No. You’re in the pool. You’re being active. And so what happens in those next five, ten years? And so, knowing that you potentially have another tool to your tool chest to help repair itself as, unfortunately, you may have some other injury. That this could be another tool for you to help recover faster.
What also appeals to me is the idea of doing it regularly as just a little boost on chronic inflammation. Because sometimes, when you train a lot, you have different issues because you’re always beating yourself up. And if you’re not recovering quickly enough, this really becomes a problem. And I know people get sick of it, I say this ad nauseum, but yes, this is a tool, and these are “hacks,” but we’re never going to get away from doing the work. And you can instant it all you want, but all the things we’re really drawn to took a lot of time to happen. Whether it’s a piece of music or art, or you look at someone and say this life they built. There is no way of getting away from it. So, I love the idea of things that can support me while trying to do this work.
Absolutely. And you’re thinking about it on the proactive side, which only some people are. And on top of that, if you could have cells ready to go, or like the athletic community, people make billions of dollars playing football. And a lot of sports have concussions. And my biggest example: what are the concussion protocols right now in the NFL? There’s really no treatment, and people are missing lots of games and having chronic brain injuries, and that’s inflammation in the brain. And if they had their cells potentially after they got concussed, that could calm the inflammation, get them to heal more quickly, and get them back a game earlier at a healthier level. Could that prolong their career an extra year? Could it make their team get into the playoffs?
And is that done in an IV for the brain?
So there are some studies of doing the IV and calming the sites of inflammation from traumatic brain injury, and some good people are doing good work out there and seeing some success. Right now, a rat study has shown that it gets injected into the tail, and the cells can get in through the blood-brain barrier and get into the sites of inflammation in the brain, calming inflammation. They’re seeing those rats get to baseline faster than just the saline effect.
And not to mention when you’re done playing, being able to have a whole full life because that’s a whole other thing that these guys, these athletes have to deal with after, which has its own set of challenges.
A hundred percent. One of my friends is on the clinical side and has been treating some of that here in LA. And exactly to your point: what do you do with a retired football player? A lot of them from the eighties are just on a lot of medication and wake up with chronic pain. He has a great success story that I won’t get into of his clinic treating one of these patients and not feeling pain for the first time, of his opioids for the first time in years. And so, I couldn’t focus more on the quality of life. Being proactive versus reactive, which that’s what you’re all about, is getting the message out there to see that there are other options.
I really appreciate you reaching out to me, and I hope, if nothing else, people become more curious and ask more questions. I really appreciate the new information because it is new to me. So thank you, Kevin.
No, thank you, Gabby, for having me. I couldn’t be more pleased to be here and actually see exactly what you preach on your podcast. It’s the same in person and being curious, and it’s been an awesome conversation. So thank you.
About Kevin Ferber
Kevin Ferber is the Chief Operating Officer at American Cell Technology (ACT), the largest personal stem cell bank in the United States. At ACT, Kevin leads collaborations with the top regenerative medicine practitioners by supporting their clinic’s growth in using personal stem cells and innovating ideas for advancing stem cell therapy through clinical trials and other partnerships. As ACT continues to transform the stem cell banking industry, Kevin continues to provide access and education to the regenerative medicine community on the next generation of healthcare. Most recently, Kevin led the launch of the VitalCells brand that is revolutionizing and disrupting newborn cord blood and tissue banking. VitalCells offers parents an honest stem cell bank that provides their children access to billions of their personal live stem cells, today – the only newborn bank offering this in the United States. Kevin’s passion for stem cells started ten years ago, shadowing some of the top global personal stem cell doctors. As a former two-time All-American football player at Amherst College, he quickly saw the amazing impact personal stem cells can have on both athletes and the weekend warrior and was instantly hooked on progressing the advancement of personal stem cell therapy.