Stem Cell Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
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!
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. He is a strong believer of the body’s innate ability to heal itself. He believes his job as a physician is to find a way to activate that healing mechanism by using non-surgical treatment protocols without utilizing drugs.
Dr. Bleiweiss has been practicing regenerative medicine protocols such as ozone, stem cell, and PRP. He pioneered the oxygen ozone disc injection therapy to treat herniated discs in the United States and North America, which is a powerful regenerative treatment. This medical ozone injection procedure has enabled the vast majority of his patients to recover from herniated disc conditions without surgery or medication.
Dr. Bleiweiss is a member of the American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians. He has been successfully treating patients for over 30 years. Dr. Bleiweiss specializes in minimally invasive alternative treatments that heal patients with 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, and today we are focusing on another aspect of regenerative medicine, stem cell treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee.
Hello, Dr. Bleiweiss. How are you today?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: I’m good, thank you.
RC: Well, thanks so much for joining me.
So, people listening to this podcast are most likely searching for help with osteoarthritis. They may not know much about stem cell treatments, so can you start us off with a brief summary of what a stem cell treatment is and why it is considered a regenerative medicine treatment?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Yes, I’d love to. Up until very recently, we did not have the technology to do these types of stem cell treatments. Now we do and it’s very fortunate because it’s a real game changer in modern medicine. Stem cells are the most important cells in the body. Without stem cells, we couldn’t survive. When necessary, they’re capable of repairing and transforming into any other cell in the body.
Just to give an example of what stem cells are capable of and how they could transform the innate intrinsic intelligence of the cell in general and of the body in general, I want you to think about what happens after an egg is fertilized. And how that one single cell, it’s just one cell at that point, changes into, eventually becoming an entire human body with nerve cells and blood vessels and every organ that we have and hair and skin, et cetera, et cetera. That all happens through the innate intelligence of these cells and the ability of these stem cells, which they are when we’re first conceived, to be able to change into any other cell in the body.
The good thing is that we have throughout life a supply of these stem cells in areas like the bone marrow and around blood vessels, and they retain the ability to change into other cells and to help repair and nourish damaged cells. The bad news is that as we age the amount of cells will dwindle. Let’s say comparing to when we’re first born to when we’re 30 years old, we have about 50% of the stem cells supply that we had when we were born left, and when we’re 60 years old, that goes down to about 5%. I remember when I was a child, if I had an injury, I cut myself, I scrape myself or twisted my knee, it would heal very quickly. Now that I’m older, it takes a lot longer to heal, and after studying this topic for many years, I know that in large part that’s due to the fact that I have less stem cells at my age.
Now, the good news is that the stem cell treatments that we have are able to take the body’s stem cells and concentrate them in an area where we actually need the extra help, for example, osteoarthritis of the knee. The cartilage has become degenerative over time either from repeated use or injuries or other medical conditions, and we could take the stem cells that we have and inject them into the knee joint and help that knee joint repair. There are many types of stem cell treatments I use. What we call autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells, those are stem cells from our own body that are taken from the bone marrow and injected into the structure that needs to be repaired.
For someone with osteoarthritis of the knee, what is involved in the stem cell treatment process?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: It’s a same-day outpatient procedure. It’s done under local anesthesia. A small amount of stem cells are harvested under precise guidance from a site that we know has a very high concentration of stem cells. We use the bone marrow, which is harvested from the sacroiliac area. It’s done under local anesthesia, as I said, and then they’re injected into a very specific location in the knee joint. After the procedure, the patient goes home and they can work the next day unless they have a job that requires strenuous physical activity. But I would like to point out that this is not a cookie-cutter procedure. What I just gave you is a very generalized description of the process, but this procedure is very specialized and personalized towards a particular individual’s need and their unique condition and their unique requirements.
The first step in the treatment that I feel is one of the most important steps is the initial consultation at which time I perform a very detailed history and examination, and I go over all of the options with the patient and decide which treatment is the best treatment for that patient. And then there’s the procedure, which I described and then there’s the follow-up treatment, which is an ongoing treatment follow-up, and it’s just as important as the procedure and just as important as the initial consultation because the stem cells, like any other living tissue, need to be nurtured. I mean, they’re being taken from one environment where they thrive and being put in another environment.
So, you could think of it like a tree that’s being transplanted. You order a new tree for your property like an evergreen tree, and the gardener brings it over and plants it. Well, that’s not the end of the story. I mean, you have to water it. You have to fertilize it. Otherwise, it’s not going to thrive and it may not survive. So, the follow-up visits are extremely important, and at that time, I personally will evaluate the situation and determine if any additional agents that help nourish the stem cells have to be administered.
Can stem cell regenerative medicine treatments help other types of joint problems such as a torn ligament or cartilage?
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Yes, definitely. Bone marrow-derived stem cell treatments have a great potential to help heal torn cartilages, such as menisci, and ligaments such as an ACL tear. The process is basically the same as what I described. However, the specific structures that are targeted are different, but I again want to stress that these treatments are tailored to each individual. They’re not cookie-cutter procedures that are done the same on everybody, so that’s why I personally perform a detailed initial evaluation and design a very specific treatment protocol that includes specific procedures and follow-up care.
RC: Well, thank you, Dr. Bleiweiss. We know you’re busy, so I want to thank you for your time and your help today.
Dr. Warren Bleiweiss: Oh, you’re welcome.
RC: And 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.