There is exciting new evidence that stem cell injections can arrest or even reverse loss of blood flow to the feet and lower legs of diabetic patients, and others, with vascular (blood vessel) disease. The treatment involves injecting stem cells derived from a small amount of their own fat into the legs of patients who have decreased blood flow to the lower legs and feet, usually from diabetes. The results of treatment are published here.
This is the work of a brilliant Stanford trained Plastic Surgeon working in Nicaragua named Michael Carstens. I had occasion to see his presentation at The Stem Cell Summit in Miami earlier this year and speak to him about his work. He injects a form of fat called stromal vascular fraction into the legs of patients. The normal blood circulation then carries the stem cells downstream into the feet of affected patients.
His slides were some of the most remarkable that I have ever seen. They showed feet that had been blackened by diabetic gangrene with ulcers that would not heal, in patients who were facing, or had already had, amputation before treatment. After treatment he showed serial photographs of the patients’ feet gradually healing over a period of months. The treatment is completely safe. He had no complications from the treatment in his patients.
He treated 10 patients with non-reconstructable (by surgery) peripheral vascular (circulatory) disease from diabetes or atherosclerosis. Five of six patients had healing of chronic wounds without further surgery that had failed to heal before treatment. Five of six patients also had evidence of neovascularization (growth of new blood vessels) in response to the stem cell treatment. All patients had clinical improvement with decreased pain at rest and improvement in blood pressure measured at the ankle. Patients also showed the ability to walk further after treatment before experiencing pain in their feet and legs than before treatment.
He was fortunate to have a favorable regulatory environment in Nicaragua where he was allowed to pursue this work and demonstrate his amazing results without government impedance. It is worth noting that no pharmaceutical medication has shown results that even approximate his results. It is also worth noting that he uses only tissue from the patients themselves: so called autologous tissue. Virtually all current studies have shown that the patient’s own tissue is more effective, safer and much less expensive than tissue derived from others: which is called allogeneic tissue.
We are currently preparing to offer this treatment to our patients. It is not covered by any insurance plan or Medicare. We estimate that we will be enrolling patients at the beginning of 2020. If you, or someone you know has potential interest in this treatment, please call our office at 847-699-6810 and speak to our nurse Susan Finkle RN.