In Germany there is a medical procedure called Orthokine in which anti-inflammatory factors are removed from the patient’s blood, manipulated, and then re-injected into the painful areas. It is an anti-inflammatory treatment used to suppress back and joint pain. By admission of its proponents it is only an anti-inflammatory and not a healing remedy.
In the United States it is called Regenokine and is considered a variant of Orthokine because of significant legal and medical issues surrounding the simple fact that the Orthokine process is not approved for use in the United States.* The US ban has to do with blood manipulation and blood storage.
Orthokine/Regenokine is often confused with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, some even confuse it with stem cell therapy. The confusion comes from the belief that all the therapies have something to do with blood being injected into a painful joint. Below I describe the differences in detail.
Almost every email or phone call to our office eventually will ask “where is the research on PRP or stem cell injections?” We are happy and eager to answer these questions as there is a great collection of research available on both PRP and Stem Cells.Including those published by our institute:
Please see our research here:
- Stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis –
- Stem cell therapy as an alternative to hip replacement –
- Treatment of shoulder osteoarthritis and rotator cuff tears with bone marrow concentrate and whole bone marrow injections
- Treatment of Lower Back Pain with Bone Marrow Concentrate
Sometimes we are asked where is the research on Orthokine or Regenokine. That is not as easy to provide.
Pubmed the government repository of medical papers lists over 8,600 medical papers on PRP. Nearly 10,000 on stem cell therapy.
Only 8 appear for Orthokine, 154 appear under “autologous conditioned serum,” a descriptive term for “heated” or condition blood plasma injections. Under Regenokine there are NONE.
- Obviously the research on Orthokine/Regenokine is not as robust.
Dr. Peter Wehling, the pioneer of Orthokine, invented the technique in the 1980s after noticing that some patients with terrible spinal MRIs had no pain from mechanical problems but patients with less damage on MRI had terrible pain. Dr. Wehling concluded the “wildcard” factor was inflammation.
- The body heals by inflammation, so if inflammation is present the body is trying to heal something, if you stop the inflammation process you stop healing. Inflammation is not the enemy of pain patients, not enough inflammation or not enough healing is.
Let’s go back to Dr. Wehlin: On July 10, 2012 the New York Times reported the following “(Wehling’s treatment Orthokine) might sound similar to another blood-spinning treatment, known as platelet-rich plasma, or PRP., that has gained popularity in the United States in recent years. In that procedure, the goal is to produce a high concentration of platelet cells, which are believed to speed the healing process.
Wehling said his treatment differed from PRP because he heats the blood before it is spun to increase the concentration of anti-inflammatory proteins, rather than the platelets. The idea is not just to focus on mechanical problems in the joints or lower back but to treat inflammation as a cause of tissue damage as well as a symptom. So there are two things to note – the joint is not being treated – the inflammation is being suppressed. The blood is heated and that is why it cannot be practiced in the United States.”
Platelet rich plasma, or regenokine?
PRP injection is a treatment method in which high concentrations of endogenous (your own) platelets are delivered to a specific area of injury in order to stimulate your body’s natural healing response. During the procedure your blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelet rich plasma from the rest of your blood. This plasma is then injected using ultrasound guidance.
Here lies a crucial difference in the treatment methods.
Both draw blood, but one draws the anti-inflammatory portion, one draws the pro-inflammatory portion. Clearly the two treatments can never be combined.
Regenokine attacks the interleukin-1 (IL-1) inflammation producing system. As a joint continues deeper into a degenerative state, the immune system produces more interleukin-1 to break down dead, dying, diseased tissue to clear the way for new tissue. However, in degenerative joint or disc disease, the immune system can be destroying more tissue that the body can create to replace it. The immune system is destroying cartilage your body needs.
By contrast PRP contains healing agents, or “growth factors.” Let’s look at some of the growth factors and what they do:
- Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a protein that helps control cell growth and division, especially blood vessels. When more blood (and the oxygen it carries) is delivered to the site of a wound, there is more healing.
- Transforming growth factor beta (or TGF-β) is a polypeptide and is important in tissue regeneration.
- Insulin-like growth factors are signaling agents. They help change the environment of the damaged joint from diseased to healing by “signaling” the immune system to start rebuilding tissue.
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important protein that brings healing oxygen to damaged tissue where blood circulation might be damaged or inadequate.
- Epidermal growth factor plays a key role in tissue repair mechanisms.
The PRP is also working to remove dead dying tissue and reduce an overactive immune system from breaking down too much cartilage. BUT, the PRP is also creating new tissue simultaneously.
Stem cell therapy can be taken from your own bone marrow, as we discuss in our research studies cited above, or can be from umbilical cord blood. (We have a very detailed article on this treatment). Stem cell therapy also works in the capacity of removing dead tissue, shutting down an overactive immune breakdown system. It also works by bringing stem cells into a damaged area to facilitate a quicker and somewhat more powerful healing response.
Ask Dr. Darrow about your pain challanges and how you may be able to avoid surgery
A leading provider of stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma and prolotherapy
11645 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD SUITE 120, LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
There is controversy in the medical community about umbilical cord blood stem cells. Some insist that the injectable solution contains abundant live umbilical cord blood stem cells. Some suggest that the stem cells are not alive. I have seen the flow cytometry showing live stem cells. The research shows that these stem cells release cytokines and growth factors that awaken native stem cells. I have tried this treatment on myself for both shoulders and knees. After great success, I started using this treatment on patients. I still use PRP and bone marrow depending on the patient’s pathology and requirements. To date the results are excellent for all of these treatments. We are in the process of doing a study on cord blood stem cells (we have done others on bone marrow and PRP) to see which treatments are the most successful. We are awaiting more long term results.