Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What has initiated the development of a new method?
  2. What are the key features of a new method?
  3. How is the method realized?
  4. How are the stem cells transplanted?
  5. Can you please tell us about the stem cells administrations. Is the neurosurgery necessary to fix the damaged structure of the brain? How exactly are the cells transplanted into the brain or spinal cord?
  6. For what diseases is the effectiveness of a new method confirmed?
  7. Is the cell therapy beneficial in the cases of epilepsy?
  8. Can you help patients with the spinal cord injury?
  9. Where do you get the stem cells from? Who is the donor?
  10. How much does the cell therapy cost?
  11. What is the future of this method?

 

  1. What has initiated the development of a new method?

The cell transplantations of Russian and foreign experts that date back to more than thirty years ago can be considered the first trigger. Among foreign pioneers of cell therapy we should name Olaf Backstrem, Evan Snyder and other. The mere fact that national and international scientific development goes in one direction confirms the objective necessity of the development of a new area. We believe that the priority in this area belongs to Russian scientists. A new method had been born and nursed by such members of the Academy of Sciences as Tatyana Borisovna Dmitriyeva, Valeriy Ivanovich Shumakov, Ghennadiy Tikhonovich Sukhikh, Vladimir Pavlovich Chekhonin and other.

  1. What are the key features of a new method?

A new method was born at the junction of the conservative therapy and transplantation of organs and tissues. The idea is that we replace the damaged cell structures that are unable to perform their function in the body for various reasons (infection, trauma, or something else). Here we mean the reconstruction of the tissue of the organ, and not the transplantation of the organ. We give new biological resource that the body uses following the standard patterns of sanogenesis (recover).

  1. How is the method realized?

Contemporary diagnostic methods allow detecting what areas in the brain or spinal cord are deprived of blood supply and if the conductance of nervous impulses is disordered due to injury or autoimmune process. That means that although the cell structure seems intact, in reality it is dead. These “dead” cells should be replaced or new pathways for innervation must be established. Then the function of the cells and tissues could be restored. We do the following: we isolate the cells from the bone marrow of the patient in a surgical way, or, we stimulate the exit of the cells from bone marrow into peripheral blood and then separate the stem cells from blood. Then we standardize the cells, expand them if necessary and freeze to store in the special bank. Further, the thawed the cells are used for direct transfusions into the brain or spinal cord.

  1. How are the stem cells transplanted?

For more than a decade we have been widely using the conservative approach and transplanting the cells in a simple transfusion of the suspended stem cells in blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The injury site can be compared to the burned field, and the physicians’ measures are similar to those of a seeder. New cells can be introduced directly into the site of injury the location of which is calculated with a micron precision.  However, the necessity to make the procedure cheaper and more accessible made us choose the other way. Now we simply infuse the healthy cell structures to the spinal space where the CSF flows, and the cells independently forward to the place where they are needed most. It appeared that the stem and precursor cells are smart enough to travel in the necessary direction to achieve the site of injury. As a result the poorly functioning brain/spinal cord finds a new lease of life. Then, the external impulse triggers the internal mechanism of self-healing. Then the patient receives the support from the doctors of other specialties and recreation specialists to make the new cells function and to use the new resource to the full.

  1. Can you please tell us about the stem cells administrations? Is the neurosurgery necessary to fix the damaged structure of the brain? How exactly are the cells transplanted into the brain or spinal cord?

Our method of stem cell transfusion can hardly be called a surgery. In our case the doctors do not need the lancet at all. However, the stem cell infusion could be done stage-by-stage and last for a couple of weeks. We have developed the low-invasive technologies that permit safe and efficient cell therapy. To accomplish the intervention successfully, several stages should pass, especially when we deal with the human brain.

  1. For what diseases is the effectiveness of a new method confirmed?

Cell therapy can help in many cases, and we return hope to the despaired. We help the patients with SCI, with traumatic brain injury, after the strokes. Previously, these patients heard the doctors saying that they have to put up with their disease and adapt to the current conditions.  Now we presume that if the active process has completed we can use the cell therapy for restoration.

Therefore, to date we have proved that the effectiveness of the therapy with autologous stem cells varies from 45% to 70%. The outcome depends on how the brain matter is preserved in the site of injury as well as on the level of the injury. The best results were received in the cases of incomplete thoracic spinal cord injury two to five years old. We observed a high percentage of motor function restoration (61.1%) and bowel and bladder control restoration (54%). Sensitivity was harder to restore.

We do our best to help the patients with multiple sclerosis; however, the effectiveness rate here is much lower and varies from 20 to 25%. Transplantation of stem cells is promising for the Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other syndromes of “trembling” and they definitely require further research.

Our method is beneficial for the patients with residual organic and hypoxic injuries of the brain that manifest in infant cerebral palsy, mental retardation and other severe disorders.  Stem cell therapy gives hope to many of them, and it surely can improve their life quality.  

  1. Is the cell therapy beneficial in the cases of epilepsy?

The laboratory experiments are very promising. The cell transplantation is especially effective for the epilepsy of traumatic origin.

  1. Can you help patients with the spinal cord injury?

Yes. We have accumulated vast experience in the therapy of SCI, and we know that SCI is not a sentence to wheelchair.  Today we are able to significantly improve life quality of these patients. In some cases the reconstructive surgery for the spinal column and spinal cord is required. Such surgeries are extremely complicated and can last for 10 to 12 hours. Frequently, in these cases we use auto-transplantation, i.e. we transplant the cells and tissues of the patient to the site of injury. Still our main method to treat the SCI cases is transfusion of the autologous stem cells and specialized rehabilitation program.  

  1. Where do the cells come from? Who is the donor?

From 2002 we work only with the autologous material, i.e. with patient’s own cells. We have fully refused from using the fetal and embryonic cells for numerous reasons. We collaborate with Serbski Federal Medical Research Center of Psychiatry and Addiction and the Bone Marrow Bank of Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center who assist us in the preparation and storage of the cells. Culturing and expansion of the cells in the nourishing media yield almost unlimited amount. The cells are tested for viability before every transfusion.

  1. How much does the cell therapy cost?

So far, this new branch of medicine does not get support from the state. Meanwhile, in the world the costs of similar procedures of harvest, standardization, cryopreservation and storage of the stem cells for transplantation are rather high and vary from 200 to 250 thousand dollars. In our hospital similar method of stem cells harvest costs 4 to 5 times less. However, the price is approximate and depends on the individual case. The costs can be specified in the Contract Department after our doctors examine your medical documents.  

  1. What is the future of this method?

Our team has been developing this method for 20 years. We were the first to receive clinical approval of the cell therapy in the clinic. We started at the time when no one knew what the stem cells were. We believed that the time would come when every housewife would know what the stem cells were. And this time has come. We do believe that future belongs to these methods and they are going to be expanded and polished. Today we find ourselves on the threshold of bioengineering of tissues, bioengineering of the joints, brain-computer interface, complete reconstruction of the human brain.

Thank you for visiting our webpage!

Today cancer cannot be cured completely, but it can be transferred into a chronic and non-lethal disease, the survival rates can be significantly increased and the life quality can be improved. Alternatively, we can help provide a dignified departure from life, free from pain and humiliation.

Sincerely yours,
Professor,
PhD,
MD

Andrey S. Bryukhovetskiy

NeuroVita

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Russia

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