What’s the problem with signaling cell therapy (what others are calling stem cell treatments)?


Put quite simply, it’s the doctors.

All physicians, not just orthopedic surgeons must put their profession and their patients above self. In the setting of orthobiologics, this has been the very rare exception. Tricky marketing aimed at fooling patients into believing you’re an orthopedic surgeon or real sports medicine surgeon has become the norm. Ethical and legal violations are widespread and continue to escalate daily, growing exponentially over the last decade since we introduced the treatments.

I like to think that orthopedic surgeons are different, that we always put patients first. Demonstrating that fact, while several specialties rushed to feign orthopedic expertise with the procedure that our clinic introduced to the field in 2006 in order to cash in on uneducated patients, orthopedic surgeons have more slowly warmed to the idea with the increase in scientific literature supporting cell based therapy like signaling cell transplants. That was appropriate. We pushed the bleeding edge based on intellect we developed and that was unique. Of course, no one else was thinking of it and we took a lot of heat for it. My own colleagues still tell patients I’m ‘crazy’. Now they’re all copying everything I do and say.

There is no problem with the signaling cell treatments themselves. The problem appears to be that the grand majority of physicians who offer some version of “regenerative medicine” either have no idea what they are doing or why, just that it ‘pays a lot’. This correlates with the number of non-orthopedic surgeons who offer the treatment without appropriate training or education, representing the vast majority of healthcare providers making these offerings. These are usually physical medicine docs or anesthesiologists looking for money, academics be damned.

These types of doctors should be telling patients that signaling cell treatments that are put into the knee joint last approximately 2-3 years. Disclosing this fact allows patients to make accurate predictions about how far their out of pocket costs will take them and decide individually if the treatment is right for them. Too often patients are exploited and told the treatments directly grow back cartilage from the cells that are injected. If you’re reading this and you don’t know, that’s just not true. The mechanism is immunomodulatory and it always has been. Ask your ‘regenerative expert’ to describe that to you.

It does appear that using a nanoplastic, subarticular bony approach to decompression and marrow replacement therapy can produce lasting results when appropriate clinical conditions are maintained, and the laws of thermodynamics and particle physics are respected. In short, there’s no magic wand.

Arthritis is a disease of the bone beneath the cartilage, not the cartilage itself. Not even lab rats, rabbits, dogs or horses get arthritis unless they have stiffening of the bone under the cartilage. Understanding that fact and what happens to the bone has given us novel targets to approach when combatting knee arthritis and arthritis of any synovial joint. This approach has extended the 2-year results typically reported by legitimate sources without extreme bias. In some patients who are treated before the catabolic consequences of arthritis destroy the joint, the result can be everlasting. Advanced imaging studies like the magnetic resonance cartigram sequencing software from GE healthcare has been priceless in that regard.

Careful patient selection and objective evaluation combined with a firm grasp of immunological signaling pathways and cellular mechanisms of action in the setting of organic joint disease is seriously lacking in the field, likely accounting for setbacks in reporting and advancement of clinical treatment algorithm protocols. Patients deserve better. Respect your profession.

S. Austin Yeargan III, MD Orthopedic Surgeon Molecular Immunobiologist

You Might Also Enjoy...


TSG-6 is a secreted protein associated with inflammation. It plays a huge role in the signaling cell procedure we perform by providing growth factors and protection for hyaline cartilage, preventing it from destruction. Learn more about TSG-6!

Inflammation is healing

Inflammation IS healing! That’s a key concept. Without inflammation, there is no healing. So the healing response IS the inflammatory response.

The Biogenic Inflammatory Theory

When mechanical alignment is off, load is being placed on a part of your body. This breaks down/ softens your cartilage putting more pressure onto your bones causing them to become hard. This article goes further in depth about the background of arthritis.