Cells are the Smallest Unit of Life

Cells are the smallest unit of life, the very building block of life, and together make us and all other multicellular organism what we are. Adult cells are usually specialized for specific function (i.e. cartilage, acid secretion in the stomache, etc).  However, some cells remain less specialized and differentiated, called stem cells.  Stem cells play a primary role in the healing process, and are capable of dividing into a wide variety of cell types.  While stem cells previously were collected using aspiration of bone marrow, but recently they have been found in very high numbers in fat, which is much easier to collect and more abundant.  The ease of obtaining adult stem cells from fat currently makes liposuction the preferred method for collection, and avoids the risk and controversy of embryonic stem cell use.

Dr. Mark E. Johnson, MD, Ph.D., specializing in cosmetic surgery and anti-aging, is one of only a few leading physicians to embrace these technologies, offering cutting-edge nonsurgical alternatives using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and innovative cellular therapies. Stem cells and PRP are also used for aesthetic procedures by Dr. Johnson.  Fat can be “supercharged” to survive by adding additional stem cells back into it, allowing the surgeon to transfer the fat to where volume is desired with excellent long term results.  This stem cell-augmented fat can be transferred to the butt (Brazilian Buttlift), breasts (Natural Breast Augmentation), and face (Stem Cell Facelift).  Also known as Fat Injections, these are virtually scarless procedures and provide volume enhancement that has a natural look and feel.

How Do Stem Cells Work?

Although Cell therapy in various forms has been around for centuries, we are most familiar with blood transfusions, bone marrow and organ transplantations, and reproductive in vitro fertilizations.  Stem cells, although still considered experimental by the FDA, are the ultimate form of cell therapy and this innovative technology is offering hope and promise for the treatment of many diseases which currently are inadequately treated by allopathic medicine.

Scientists have discovered that stem cells are inactive until triggered by signals of damaged cells. When triggered, the stem cells “awake” and start the normal healing process of the damaged area. However, in cases of some diseases, such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases, there may be inadequate signals to “wake up” the stem cells, or there may simply be too few stem cells to carry out the healing response, such as in joints or heart tissue. In these cases, studies indicate that injecting stem cells into these areas can dramatically improve healing.  The stems cells in these cases are activated by using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which is the serum of the blood containing high numbers of platelets containing the necessary growth factors.  In stem cell rich areas of the body (soft tissues, muscle, tendons etc), use of this PRP to activate the resident stem cells is sufficient to very dramatically improve healing (remember Hines Ward before the SuperBowl?).  In both cases, the treatment therefore is to use one’s own cells to heal the body, very much as nature intended.

If you feel you might be interested in stem cell procedures contact well-trained doctors in your area who practice stem cell procedures and find out if you are a good candidate for this procedure.