The Federal Drug Administration has yet to approve stem cell treatments, which has been heavily politicized in the previous ten years by conservative lawmakers and evangelical activists. Regardless of this fact, Chris Centeno and John Schultz have formed Regenerative Sciences Inc. in Broomfield, Colorado. The clinic, which deals entirely in stem cell treatments called a Regennex procedure, extracts stem cell tissue from the patient's bone marrow, and then injects them in the damaged joint or bone tissues. No surgery needed. The clinic has, so far, treated over 350 patients, using more than 800 injections, reporting that 89% of their knee patients and 75% of their hip patients have shown significant improvements within months.Though the FDA has not approved stem cell treatments in any form, RSI still manages to operate. They can do this because they operate only within the borders of Colorado, and they only use stem cell treatments. This makes the clinic out-of-bounds for FDA regulation, which monitors interstate commerce and clinical trials. Although the agency's job is not to prevent
individuals from seeking these procedures, they are trying to make sure they're safe. As a result, according to Singularity Hub
, "medical tourism" has been increasing over the last several years, with American citizens traveling out of country to find medical clinics in other countries that offer stem cell treatments. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that stem cell therapies have been shown to successfully treat things as varied as bone and cartilage damage to genetic disorders and disease like diabetes, corneal blindness, and even HIV.
Stem cell treatments, as in demand as they seem to be, are inaccessible to people for more than just regulatory reasons. After a 20-40 minute extraction of stem cells from pelvic bone marrow, along with some blood, the stem cells are cultured and multiply. From there each injection costs between $5,000 to $8,000 and a round of treatment could include as many as 10 injections. For those people able to produce a large amount of stem cells, subsequent injections in other areas run about $3,500 per injection.
Though these treatments seem to be miraculous, there are always reservations about so called "medical miracles", particularly when they have not been approved via federal oversight. That said, RSI provides research, case studies, patient testimonials, and more on both their website and YouTube channel. Watch an excerpt from ABCNews below.