PodCast: Non-Cellular Treatments in Regenerative Medicine
Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Warren Bleiweiss’ podcast interview. You can listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcript below. Enjoy!
In this podcast, Dr. Bleiweiss further discusses regenerative medicine, with a focus on non-cellular treatments.
Click the link above to listen to Dr. Warren Bleiweiss’ new podcast interview. You can also read a full transcript below. Enjoy!
RC: Hello everyone, this is Liz Harvey coming to you from our studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you top quality advice from many of the leading expert professionals across the U.S.
In today’s episode, we are speaking with Dr. Warren J. Bleiweiss about the exciting field of regenerative medicine. He is a graduate of New York University School of Medicine and is Board Certified in both Anesthesiology and Pain Management. His long list of accomplishments includes leadership experience as a hospital anesthesiology department director, the inventor of a patented medical device, and the founder of one of the first multi-disciplinary pain management centers in New Jersey.
Dr. Bleiweiss also pioneered the treatment of oxygen ozone disc injection therapy in the United States, which is a powerful regenerative treatment. He has also been successfully treating patients for over 30 years. Dr. Bleiweiss specializes in minimally invasive alternative treatments that heal patients without surgery or potentially harmful medications. His treatment protocols are specifically designed to activate the body’s innate ability to recover and regenerate. His practice has been producing excellent results by utilizing these alternative methods.
We previously discussed oxygen ozone treatments with Dr. Bleiweiss. Today we are focusing on other aspects of regenerative medicine, and we are discussing non-cellular treatments in regenerative medicine.
Hello, Dr. Bleiweiss. How are you today?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: I’m great, thank you.
RC: Thanks again for joining me.
Since you keep up with and stay on top of the new developments in the field of regenerative medicine, I would like to ask you about non-cellular treatments in regenerative medicine. Could you please give us a brief overview?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Yes, I’d be very happy to. I want to start by briefly mentioning that I discussed cellular regenerative treatments, which are commonly known as stem cell treatments, in a previous interview. If anybody is interested in learning a little bit more about those treatments, I’d encourage them to listen to that interview.
By contrast, non-cellular regenerative medicine treatments are biological agents, but they do not contain cells. The goal of regenerative medicine with stem cells and non-cellular treatments is the same. The goal is the same. It’s to restore structure and function of damaged tissues and organs. The agents are different because the non-cellular treatments do not contain cells, but they are biologic agents. These biologic agents activate the body’s own repair system, which again, will help regenerate damaged tissue and restore structure and function. There are many, many, many types of non-cellular regenerative medicine treatments. I’m going to limit this discussion to four types of non-cellular treatments.
The first is exosomes, which I find an extremely, extremely fascinating topic. I could talk about exosomes for hours, but I’m not going to do it today. Exosomes are tiny vacuoles. They’re excreted by cells, so they’re cellular excretion products. They’re not cells themselves because they don’t reproduce, but they’re cellular excretion vesicles. They contain, among other things, messenger RNA, microRNA, proteins. I can’t get into a whole discussion now about what actually is a messenger RNA versus a microRNA, but there’s plenty of information on the internet regarding these things. They could be used in every aspect of regenerative medicine. They have amazing regenerative and modulating properties.
Another potent regenerative medicine non-cellular treatment is oxygen ozone injection therapy. Oxygen ozone injection therapy, it has multiple actions, but one of the things that it does is it works through what’s known as the redox system. The redox system controls the cell cycle. The cell cycle has to do with when a cell decides to divide and create a new cell. In the proper doses, oxygen ozone injection treatments can induce cells to reproduce, to divide, to increase their number. It also vastly improves oxygen delivery to tissue.
Another treatment is A2M. A2M stands for alpha-2-macroglobulin. Alpha-2-macroglobulin is a very large molecule that is produced by the liver and circulates in our blood. It actually captures and deactivates enzymes that destroy cartilage, and joints, and discs. You might wonder why if it’s in our blood, why is that a treatment. The reason is that once a disc is destroyed or is in the process of being destroyed, and once a joint is in the process of being destroyed, the blood supply is compromised. The A2M from our body cannot get into these structures in the proper doses to actually switch off these destructive enzymes. By isolating the A2M and concentrating it, and introducing it into a disc or a joint, it’s a very powerful regenerative medicine tool.
The last one I want to mention is PRP. PRP has been around for a very long time. It contains many growth factors. It is a regenerative treatment. PRP is very complicated though because there are many different types of PRP. A lot of clinicians do not quite understand that the preparation of the PRP is very important. Now, I’m not knocking clinicians. I’m sure there are a lot of very fine clinicians who fully understand this topic, but there are also a lot of places that you come in and everybody gets the same PRP. It’s like a one size fits all. All PRP is not the same. I want to stress that. Depending on the machinery that’s used to spin down the platelets, the fraction that is withdrawn from the aliquot that is spun down, and how it’s administered, there’s many factors that determine whether it’s a regenerative type of PRP, or whether it’s a pro-inflammatory type or PRP, or whether it has a combination of both. It is a powerful tool, but it has to be fully understood and it has to be used properly.
These are just some of them. Like I said, there are so many treatments. It’s a fascinating field. I just gave you a brief overview of some of the most common types of non-cellular regenerative treatments.
What conditions can be treated with non-cellular applications of regenerative medicine?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Again, there are many, many conditions that could be treated. I’m going to mention four conditions that I treat with these non-cellular regenerative medicine treatments, and that they’re very effective in treating. I want to come back to the difference between cellular and non-cellular after I mention these four treatments and discuss how we make a decision on what product to use.
These treatments are very effective for osteoarthritis of joints, which we all develop through normal aging and wear and tear. It could be of the shoulder, the hips, the knees. All of us to varying degrees develop these conditions. Sometimes it’s severe, sometimes it’s not severe. Sometimes it’s more prevalent in a hip or a knee in one individual, and sometimes in another joint in another individual. These treatments are very effective in helping restore structure and function to these damaged joints. Hair loss is also something that is treated with non-cellular regenerative medicine. It’s very effective in inducing follicles that are still active to increase the number of hairs and increase the thickness of the hair. It’s very good at treating aging of the skin. I’ve mentioned this before with cellular treatments, it’s not going to get rid of all your wrinkles. I’m not suggesting you have wrinkles. I’ve never met you. I’m just saying if somebody does have wrinkles, it’s not going to get rid of all the wrinkles, but it will rejuvenate the skin.
I just want to take a step back. It’s not altering the normal skin. You could get rid of wrinkles by injecting substances into the wrinkle like Restylane, I believe it’s called. I don’t do those treatments. You go to a dermatologist, they inject a substance into the wrinkle, or you could have Botox. There are other treatments. These things alter the anatomy. It’s not working with your own body’s healing system. Yes, you could puff up a wrinkle so you can’t see it, but what I’m talking about is working with your body’s innate ability to heal the damage that has occurred to our skin over time through various things, for example, sunlight, ultraviolet light from the sun. No matter how much suntan lotion we slather on ourselves, we do over time get exposure to ultraviolet light, and we do get damage from that.
Also, declining mental function. At the risk of repeating myself multiple times, I do want to, again, say that I’m not suggesting that you could take someone with severe dementia and give them these treatments and they’re going to be like new, but they are extremely effective. Many clinicians have reported effectiveness in improving cerebral function, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, particularly in the early stages.
The other thing I wanted to mention, and I talked about this in the beginning, is that I have discussed treatment of these issues with stem cells. Now I’m discussing it with non-cellular treatments. Someone listening to me might think, “Well, why are you saying stem cells could treat this and also non-cellular things could treat it? It’s very confusing.” The answer is it’s not confusing, it’s scientific. There is a reason why various treatments work better for different people and different conditions.
For example, let’s talk about knee pain and joint problems. Not every joint problem is the same. There are a lot of different joint problems that cause knee pain, and not every individual is the same. My job, one of the most important things in my job is to assess each individual personally and to determine which treatment is the best treatment for their condition. I will determine whether somebody, for example, might need stem cells to treat their knee joint, or they might need ozone to treat their knee joint, or exosomes. These are decisions that I make based on the individual person, what their medical condition is, their state of health, what their specific joint condition is, and other factors that I determine. That’s why we call this personalized precision medicine.
The other thing that I’ve mentioned in the past but I’ll mention it again is it’s very important for a physician to be fluent in performing all of these procedures and to understand the different types of treatments that are available because only then can you determine what is the best treatment for an individual. If I’m going in for a treatment for arthritis in my knee, for example, and stem cells could help and ozone could help, they both could help, I want to know which one has a better chance of helping. If one has a 60% chance of helping and one has an 80% chance of helping, for my specific condition, I have to reiterate that. This is not one treatment fits all. This is for my specific condition. I want the one that is going to have an 80% chance of helping me, and that’s what I do.
How do you evaluate a patient to determine if they are a candidate for one of these procedures?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: This segues very nicely into what I was just discussing. It’s the most important part of the treatment, and that’s the initial evaluation. I’ve said this in previous interviews. I evaluate every patient myself. I perform a history. I look at the labs. I look at the imaging. I sometimes order additional labs if I feel they’re necessary. I do a physical examination. That’s really the only way to evaluate a patient to determine if they’re a candidate for one of these procedures.
Could you walk us through what a typical patient would experience when they have a non-cellular regenerative medicine procedure?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Yes, I’d be happy to. As we discussed with the cellular treatments in a previous interview, it’s essential to assure that a patient is in optimal health before the treatment so they’ll have the best chance of effective healing. That is a very, very important aspect of this treatment. With non-cellular treatments, preparing the patient is different than with cellular treatments. I’m not going to get too involved in the cellular treatments, which are stem cell treatments as we discussed, because I discussed it in detail. Those cells are living cells.
The way the patient is prepared is typically different than the non-cellular treatments. For example, when I discussed the stem cell treatments, I indicated that it is not appropriate to do the evaluation and the treatment on the same day and just send the patient home. There is a specific protocol to get the body ready for the stem cells and to nurse the patient along through the treatment process and the post-treatment process.
With non-cellular treatments, because they’re not living cells, certain treatments, not all, can be administered the day of the initial consult. For example, treating hair loss with ozone, that could be done the first day I see a patient typically. There might be other issues that I’m not going to get into, all of the little minute details. Typically, if a patient comes in for treatment with ozone injections for hair loss, that could be done on the same day. I will make that decision. Again, the most important part of deciding what treatment to do and how the patient is prepared for the treatment is the initial evaluation, which includes a careful history, a physical examination, and review of the testing. Again, as I discussed earlier, I’m the one who does that evaluation, and I’m the one who makes the decision. Then I discuss it with the patient. The procedures that are done are outpatient procedures that are in the office. The only time it’s done at a surgery center, again, as an outpatient procedure is if it involves a disc injection because those injections have to be performed with fluoroscopic guidance, which requires special equipment.
RC: Thank you so much, Dr. Bleiweiss. We know you’re busy, so I want to thank you for your time and your help today.
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: You’re welcome.
RC: For our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with the doctor, please visit www.alternativedisctherapy.com, or call 973-403-3334 to schedule an appointment.
On behalf of our team, we want to thank you for listening, and we look forward to bringing you more top-quality content from our country’s leading experts.