Taking Charge of Your Health

Hi. My name is Chris Centeno. I’m the Medical Director for
Regenerative Sciences, also medical doctor and
stem cell researcher. I’d like to talk to you
today about using adult stem cells to repair disc bulges. First, we have to really
understand the structure of the disc in the low back. So basically, the disc has
a tough outer covering, or the annulus fibrosus. You can see it there
as A-N-A-L-U-S. It’s a little bit
of a misspelling. A gel-filled inner center
called the nucleus– so this is the tough
outer covering, the gel-filled inner center. And so the disc is
basically a shock absorber made up of those two things. How do you get a disc bulge? Well, you can see on the
left there the normal disc with an intact outer covering
and the red inner gel, and then the disc
bulge on the right, where the outer
covering gets damaged and the inner gel pushes
out on the outer covering. So you can see
there the disc bulge is nothing more than a damage to
the outer covering of the disc. So how do we currently
treat this type of problem with surgery? Well, what we do,
believe it or not, is we go in– not with
a pair of scissors, obviously– with some very
fancy surgical equipment, and we cut off the
back of the disc. Now that does a good job,
usually, of relieving pressure on the nerve, because
that disc bulge is usually putting pressure on a nerve. But it does a poor job of any
type of preserved integrity for the disc. As you can see
there, now the disc is less strong and more
likely to herniate, meaning that stuff on the
inside– the red stuff– coming completely out. So that’s a problem. Is there a problem with
trimming this disc? And as we’ve just talked
about, this really reduces the strength
of the disc. And the disc doesn’t
heal up by itself. So we’re left with a much
better chance of reherniation or with that inner gel
actually squirting out of the disc at some
point onto the nerve. What if we could rebuild the
torn fibers of the outer disc? We’ve been working on
this for a number of years and would like to share
with you some results. In this particular procedure,
we take the patient’s own adult stem cells and inject those
into the back of the disc. These are specially
prepared stem cells. And basically what
happens is that they differentiate into
fibrous tissue and then seal up or heal that
tear in the back of the disc. So we’re getting
rid of the bulge by strengthening the disc,
rather than getting rid of the bulge by destroying
the integrity of the disc. So here’s the case
report of two patients. Both had disc bulges with
good disc height remaining, meaning the discs
were not herniated. These discs were
causing pressure on exiting spinal nerves and
causing numbness down the leg. And we harvested adult
mesenchymal stem cells, which were grown in
culture, to bigger numbers. Now these were their
own stem cells, or what’s called autologous. These were then injected
back into the disc under expert guidance. So as you can see
here, the before picture on the left of
the first patient, that’s a picture of their disc bulge. You can see it pooching
out there at L5-S1. And then on the right,
after treatment, about five months
after the procedure, that disc bulge has resolved. We’ve now initiated long-term
follow-up on this patient. And that has not returned. The second patient is actually
a woman around 28 years old. And you can see
here, on the left, the size of that
L4-L5 disc bulge, meaning the back part
here that’s bulging out, or pooching out, and
then the resolution of that about two months after
the procedure, on the right. You can also see
there are measurements of the spinal canal– a
1-centimeter spinal canal on the left, and it
increasing in size to 1.2 centimeters on the right. Again, what’s
interesting about that is that this was done
without any type of surgery or any type of significant
activity restriction. So thanks for watching. For more information on
this type of procedure, see We’re excited about this,
because for the first time, we think we’ve changed the
playing field with regard to disc injury tear. Rather than cutting off
the back of the disc and making the disc
more likely to herniate, we believe we can now actually
rebuild the back of the disc instead. Thank you so much.

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