Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron Cautions Patients on Stem Cell-Based and Reparative Therapies

The doctors at Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron, in congruence with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, urge consumer cautiousness with stem cell, regenerative medicine and reparative therapy products. The practice does not offer stem cell treatments and, serving as the region’s most preferred orthopedic practice, provides advanced subspecialty care using proven, safe methods to help patients stay healthy and active. 

Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron actively chooses not to offer stem cell or regenerative treatments, as stem cell and regenerative treatments for bone, joint and muscle conditions lack sufficient, scientific proof to meet the practice’s strict criteria for patient safety and outcomes. Currently, stem cell treatments are only widely accepted for use in treating a small number of blood disorders and some applications for burn victims because there has yet to be any proven advantages for other injuries and conditions. In addition to scientific uncertainty with effective orthopedic stem cell treatment, the practice and the FDA share a number of safety concerns — from reactions at the site of injection to the potential for cells to become inappropriate cell types or even cause growth of tumors.

“At Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron, we are dedicated to providing our patients with the most advanced, evidence-based orthopedic care,” says Todd P. Murphy, M.D., sports medicine surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron. “Our primary concern is and will always be the safety and health of our patients.”

The practice’s doctors align with Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute, and other experts whose opinions and research findings were featured in the recent ProPublica article “The Birth-Tissue Profiteers.” 

Dr. Loring says the assertion that amniotic stem cells can heal orthopedic problems is “simply not true.” On the commercial administration of stem cells derived from birth-tissue products, the article quoted Dr. Loring as saying:

If a stem cell from one organ is put into another, like a placenta or umbilical cord cell into a knee, it will die. It can’t become something else.

A number of cellular regenerative treatments are illegal and potentially harmful. According to the FDA, the vast majority of these products have yet to be proven safe, effective or beneficial at all. Even if the cells are autologous, or harvested from the patient’s own blood or tissues, if cells are manipulated in any way once removed, contamination becomes a serious risk. Adult or autologous stem cells are also subject to far fewer federal regulations. 

“It is our duty as doctors to provide the best possible care, to honor our patients’ trust and to provide them with accurate information so they can confidently make medical decisions that preserve their health and quality of life,” says sports medicine surgeon Rajesh B. Makim, M.D., F.A.A.O.S., of Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron. “Stem cell treatment is still in its infancy, and many of these products are not sanctioned by the FDA and are deemed experimental by insurance companies, which leaves patients with exorbitant out-of-pocket costs for potentially zero health benefit.”

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has also advised physicians and patients alike to be wary of trends in the unproven arena of cell-based treatments, particularly with the advent of stem cell centers that offer non-FDA-approved products or approved products used in unapproved ways to patients with bone, joint and muscle conditions like arthritis. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, these centers offer hope to patients with joint pain, lower back pain, tendon tears and similar issues, despite that little evidence supports the use of these treatments for most orthopedic conditions. 

“There’s simply not enough evidence or peer-reviewed research to justify the claim that stem cell and regenerative therapies are safe or effective enough to merit the risks they pose to orthopedic patients,” says William Braaksma, M.D., Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron’s fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon. “We remain devoted to providing the highest level of care for our patients. Every individualized treatment plan we develop and every procedure we perform is backed by experience, evidence, peer-reviewed data and our own commitment to the best possible outcome for each patient.”

To learn more about Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron and the bone, joint and muscle services they offer patients or to schedule an appointment, please call (810) 985-4900 or request an appointment online