At the time of this post, a google search the words “stem cells”, resulted in 148,000,000 web sites that have information in some fashion about stem cells. Almost as numerous are the number of stem cell therapy providers.
How does Dr. Lewis Obi a Obi Plastic Surgery, (www.obiplasticsurgery.com) and Pangenics Regenerative Center, (www.stemcellsurgeryflorida.com) stand out from all other stem cell and plastic surgery providers? In addition to decades of growth in his professional career, he has the most depth with his foundation of training which, coincidentally, is ongoing. While still a teen-ager, the U.S. Marine Corps taught Dr Obi discipline, dedication and professionalism. Afterwards, he received degrees in chemistry, pharmacy and medicine before training in multiple specialties. This culminated in board certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. His additional training in cardiovascular surgery, hand surgery and maxillofacial surgery preceded his extensive work with stem cells. Dr Obi had to practice pharmacy for seven years in order to finish medical school with a family of five. Before becoming a physician, he learned about the downside of drugs and is recognized by peers for his quote “do not medicate, regenerate”. Also, for many potential surgery patients, a stem cell option should be available. The evolution of naming our stem cell center “Pangenics” comes from “Peter Pan; who never ages” and “genics; to regenerate”. The following list are questions patient’s who are interested in stem cell therapies should ALWAYS ask potential stem cell providers before making a decision and choice:
Q. Verify credentials and training? “How long have you been doing this and how do you monitor your results”?
A. Dr. Obi’s credentials are listed above. Unfortunately, non-physicians and unqualified stem cell providers are trying to capitalize on the stem cell revolution. The largest group of providers are chiropractors, who in most cases are using frozen or non-viable cord cells that are no longer alive.
Q. What type of cells are you using and what is the source?
A. Stem cells are mono nucleated undifferentiated cells that can divide into multiple cells. They also have potency which means they can develop into many tissue types, including fat, bone, cartilage, muscle, etc. There are four types: embyonic, cord cells, autologous (our own) bone marrow and autologous fat. Embryonic cells are not used because Dr. Obi believes this to be unethical, and also because embryonic stem cells can develop into tumors. In the U.S. cord cells are the most common type of stem cells used because they are commercially available. In the U.S. they have to be sterilized. Sterilizing Cells Kills them! This makes the use of Cord Cells pointless as the cells are no longer living cells. Also Cord Cells ARE NOT FDA APPROVED and are sold frozen. These “off the shelf” cord cells are no better than growth factors and no longer have potency nor the ability to multiply. Stem cells from bone marrow were approved by the FDA in the 1970’s to treat cancer patients. They are effective for regenerating red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Stem cells from bone marrow are hematopoietic cells . The problem with using bone marrow stem cells is that harvesting the stem cells from the bone marrow is invasive, there are very small numbers of stem cells, and they have low viability. Two ounces of bone marrow typically only produce 5-10,000 live stem cells whereas two ounces of autologous body fat can produce up to 50 million live stem cells. Therefore, Autologous Stem Cells collected from your own body fat is not only the safest way to harvest your own stem cells, it provides vastly more stem cells that can be used to provide much higher doses and therapy for multiple areas in the same procedure.
Q. Verify Staffing, Certified Facilities and Equipment. And ask how the number of viable harvested stem cells is verified?
A. Dr. Obi established the first licensed ambulatory surgery center for plastic surgery and regenerative procedures in Florida and one of the first in the U.S. The Obi Plastic Surgery Center | Pangenics Regenerative Center has grown to 13,000 square feet and includes two fully equipped Florida State Licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers, PACU, ECF, 8 exam rooms and a private stem cell research lab. More then a million dollars has been invested in specialized stem cell and laser equipment including the first automated cell station produced by South Korean company BSL; BioScienceLeader. Autologous adipose derived stem cells adhere to three approved IRB protocols developed to study safety and efficacy of stem cell therapies. The pooled database includes 9000 patients. At Pangenics, our surgical staff includes Dr. Lewis Obi, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Regenerative Specialist, Hand and Maxillofacial surgeon), and Dr. Kenneth Eaddy, an internal medicine and pain management physician. In addition, 6 nurses are on the Pangenics/ObiPlaticSurgery teams. There are also 3 scrub techs, nurse anesthetist, lab techs and administrative staff. Inspections by state and federal examiners are rigid and are conducted twice a year. All staff members are either board certified or have credentials for their respective fields of training which are available upon request.
Q. Are these stem cell therapies covered by insurance?
A. Currently, insurance companies do not cover stem cell procedures but Dr. Obi continues to explore this area. In the mean time, a significant portion of the cost incurred by the complexity and extent of the Pangenics protocol is provided by Pangenics. Our fees for stem cell therapy is low compared to the very few U.S. providers of adipose (fat derived) stem cell therapy. And most do not meet the high standards in place at Pangenics Regenerative Center.