- Regenokine = Anti-Inflammatory
- Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy = Regeneration
In Germany there is a medical procedure called Orthokine in which anti-inflammatory factors are removed from the patient’s blood, manipulated, and then reinjected 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.
- On this page on our site I list medical papers in support of PRP treatments for various body problems.
- On this page stem cell therapy research papers.
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 THERAPY 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.
COST: THIS IS FROM MEN’S JOURNAL
The main obstacle with the Regenokine treatments is the price tag. The therapy can cost as much as $10,000, depending on the number of injections needed. PRP costs $500 to $1,000 per injection. Both are typically not covered by insurance. Still, many are willing to pay the price if it means they can avoid surgery.
While much of the evidence supporting the treatments has been anecdotal, according to several recent studies, PRP seems to work. Link to Men’s Journal for article.
The FDA published a Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff as assistance for human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based product (HCT/P) manufacturers, healthcare providers, and FDA staff. The document is supposed to give recommendations for meeting the criterion under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1271, specifically the 21 CFR 1271.10(a)(1) criterion of minimal manipulation.
Do you have a question for Dr. Darrow?
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