Exosomes for Joint Pain, Hair Loss and More

stem-cell.jpgSFNM has been offering regenerative medicine therapies for a little over a year now when Dr. Jillian Shannon joined the practice. To date we have offered prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for joint regeneration and hair restoration as well as PRP microneedling for facial rejuvenation. We have seen great results, and interest in these therapies has been growing.Now after much research and vetting of highly reputable companies, SFNM will be offering new medical regenerative therapies using extracellular matrix (ECM) compounds which include stem cells derivatives, exosomes, as well as amniotic tissue matrices to take our regenerative medicine therapies to the next level.
If you have heard about stem cell therapy, along with other stem cell derivatives such as exosomes, Wharton’s jelly, or mesenchymal cells, and are curious about how it works, I encourage you to continue reading.

What Is The Extracellular Matrix?

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the non-cellular component present within all tissues and organs. Here at SFNM we will primarily be using exosomes for our ECM regenerative treatments. ECM’s are essential to the body’s healing processes and regenerative abilities by providing cellular scaffolding. These non-cellular components initiate crucial biochemical and biomechanical cues that are required for tissue regeneration and cellular differentiation as well as homeostasis. In essence they are nanoparticles released from cells, particularly from stem cells.

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Research is finding that using the ECM’s of stem cells yields gratifying results as well as the ability to bypass the harvesting portion of stem cell retrieval from the patient. From hair regeneration to joint restoration, extracellular matrices of all types have been delivering results and can offer a simplified alternative solution to various surgeries and/or chronic use of medications for certain conditions.

Exosomes as part of the Extracellular Matrices

Exosomes act as protein shuttles to various target cells for specific genetic information to be processed, inducing a regenerative response. They contain particles within stem cells that include rich growth factors, mRNA, microRNA, and many other vital healing signals. These are not cells, but rather the crucial components of stem cells that when released promote controlled healing and repair. Exosomes induce cell-to-cell communication, transporting molecules that are important regulators of intracellular information between close and distant cells. They carry information from place to place with different functions and purposes telling cells how and when to react. This promotes healthy tissue healing.

Exosome treatments are a prudent option due to their size. These nanoparticles can travel throughout the entire body safely where cells cannot. Once administered, exosomes travel as “heat-targeted missiles” to areas of inflamed tissue to reduce scarring and promote beneficial immunomodulatory effects. Exosomes may be combined with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) in areas of arthritis or tendinosis.

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Wharton’s Jelly as part of the Extracellular Matrices

Wharton’s jelly is the primary substance in the umbilical cord. This gelatinous tissue is extremely rich in vital substances used for cushioning the joints and other regenerative purposes. Wharton’s jelly is comprised of signaling cells, exosomes, cytokines, and its dense glycoproteins which are indicated specifically for joint rejuvenation therapies.

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What are exosomes, Wharton’s jelly or amniotic tissue matrices used for?

  • Joint pathologies such as osteoarthritis, sports injury related trauma, post-op recovery and other types of soft tissue damage

  • Hair loss
  • Acne scarring

  • Liquid face lift (an alternative to dermal fillers)

  • Urinary incontinence and sexual rejuvenation

  • Erectile dysfunction and enhanced sexual performance

  • Lichen sclerosus

Where Do ECMs, Exosomes and Stem Cells Come From?

Bone Marrow

Stem cells can only be harvested from two places—either from the bone marrow or from fat tissue. Bone marrow stem cell retrieval is an outpatient, relatively invasive, surgical procedure that is particularly useful in younger individuals. Older patients have fewer stem cells making this procedure less effective for them.

Stromal Vascular Fraction

The other method of harvesting stem cells from fat tissue is called stromal vascular fraction (SVF). SVF cells are obtained through liposuction and contain multiple cell types, including adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), which have shown potential tissue regenerative activity.

Alternatives to Stem Cells

There is now significant research on achieving these same results or better without surgery and anesthesia. Many of these substances are gathered from placental tissue, amniotic tissue and/or the umbilical cord from planned cesarean surgeries. These ECM’s are incredibly robust non-cellular components that can yield even better results than when stem cells are harvested directly from the patient.

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Exosomes specifically are derived from stem cells of placental origin. There are approximately 1 billion exosomes per mL that can be harvested and tested for sterility and pathogens. This is a very safe and clean product that is now the most advanced treatment in stem cell regenerative medicine. Placental tissue-based matrices are quickly becoming an attractive option given the availability of the tissue source and the wide variety of bioactive molecules known to exist in unprocessed placental tissues.

Safety and Regulation

The products we use have all been screened, tested, and derived from healthy full-term pregnancies and processed in accredited facilities. Donated tissues are collected without any risk to mother or baby. Donors for the tissues are prescreened for hepatitis B & C, HIV I & II, human T-lymphotropic virus, syphilis, and CMV (cytomegalovirus). Additional microbiological tests verify sterility of the finished products. The exosomes are free of cellular debris and do not contain another’s DNA. Every product can be traced to the day and time of tissue processing and to the individual donor.

Here at SFNM, we will only use the highest quality products that have gone through extensive testing and quality assurance by regulated facilities.

How much does ECM/Exosome Treatments Cost?

While an average corticosteroid injection may provide temporary relief and be covered by your insurance, chronic use of corticosteroids have long-term side effects. Most regenerative therapies are not covered by insurance and ought to be looked at as an investment in your health. Regenerative medicine often provides an alternative to surgery, medications, or other medical injections.

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The product itself costs roughly $2,000-$4,000 depending on the amount needed, site of injection, and indication of treatment, as this determines the quantity required. The total cost of the procedure depends on the area and complexity of treatment. However, compared to prolotherapy and PRP which may need a number of treatments to be effective, stem cell derivative therapy may only require one treatment to achieve results.

In Conclusion

Bringing these stem cell derivative therapies into our portfolio of regenerative medicine allows us to offer cutting edge advanced treatments that are likely to yield superior results with fewer treatments. We have carefully vetted companies that provide these materials with emphasis on safety, reliability, and quality so we can yield the best results possible. If you are interested in this therapeutic approach, please contact Dr. Jillian Shannon at 415-643-6600 for a free 15-minute consult to see if this therapy may be right for you.

Jillian mini.pngDr. Jillian Shannon has a general naturopathic practice and specializes in regenerative medicine including BHRT, joint injections and IV therapies. She has been working closely with other practitioners specializing in functional endocrinology and anti-aging medicine with the use of stem cells, ozone, and PRP. She is available full time at SFNM and is accepting new patients.