Archives for the month of: October, 2012

For those who have never been to Tijuana – and for those who only know Tijuana as Avenida Revolución – a visit to ProgenCell can be surprising. We’re on the second floor of a modern commercial complex a block away from CECUT, Tijuana’s world-famous cultural center.

You’re greeted at the reception desk at the end of a marble foyer and taken to the consultation office, where your doctor explains your procedure to you and answers any questions you might still have. From there you go to the changing room for your hospital gown, leaving your street clothes in a private locker.

Then you cross a cordon sanitaire into the sterile area for your procedure. ProgenCell’s procedure rooms are held to the same federal medical standards as hospitals. There we extract your hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells, screen them for viability, and infuse them where they can do the most good, all in one continuous operation. When the infusion is complete, you change back into your street clothes to spend forty-five minutes in the recovery room, where you and your companions may take refreshments, make international calls, watch movies and access the internet.

To give you an idea of the procedure itself, the filmmaker Stefan Sargent brought video equipment past the cordon sanitaire to record his own experience. You can see here how comfortable he was.


Philosophers and scientists throughout the ages have emphasized the importance of working in concert with others. Bernard of Chartres and Sir Isaac Newton described what we do as “standing on the shoulders of giants”. We at ProgenCell belong to many professional associations for this very reason. By working with others in our field, we learn about the discoveries of others and we are continually challenged to improve our own work.

Consequently, ProgenCell or the medical team of ProgenCell is proud to be a member of :
…the International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS), the association of doctors and clinics devoted to promoting best practices, patient safety, and ethical advancements in affordable stem cell therapies.
• the International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS), the authority that accredits and certifies medical professionals at the international level.
• the Medical Tourism Association, the consumer watchdog group for medical tourists.
All Private Health, an international medical tourism locator service that works with accredited providers.

And, of course, all of our staff physicians maintain active membership in the professional associations connected to their specializations. These associations require continuing education of their members. Luis Romero Guerra, M.D., belongs to the Mexican Association of Spinal Surgeons and is certified by the Mexican Board of Orthopedics and Traumatology. Jorge Luis Gaviño Contreras, M.D., is certified by the Mexican Board of General Practitioners and has been a titular professor of biology and health science since 1996. Miguel Ángel Matildes Victorino, M.D., is a member of the Internal Medicine Association of Baja California, for which he served a term as president, and is currently an officer of the Diabetes Association of Baja California. Joaquín García Zeevaert, M.D., is certified by the Mexican Board of Orthopedics and Traumatology. Norma Niño Sulkowska, M.D., belongs to the Mexican Institute of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Hugo Navarrete, M.D., is a member of the Mexican Association of Pediatric Neurologists, the Mexican Academy of Neurology, and the World Neurology Federation.
 Let ProgenCell evaluate your case

Why do we use autologous bone marrow stem cells in our therapy?, ProgenCell, tem cells, Tijuana, MexicoStem cells are found in many parts of the body. Your doctor exercises professional judgment in deciding which ones are to be used and how they are to be applied. We at ProgenCell have found that the stem cells in a patient’s own (“autologous”) bone marrow are generally the best choice, although in rare cases we also make use of stem cells in adipose tissue or cord blood derived from the same patient.

There are some clinics, inexperienced in bone marrow aspiration, that prefer to use adipose stem cells as first option, in the belief that these are easier to harvest. To do so, however, the patient is subjected to liposuction, which involves couplel weeks of painful recovery. In addition, we have found that stem cells taken from adipose tissue are less or as effective than are stem cells taken at their main source.

Yet other clinics have been promoting the use of placental stem cells on the theory that these are “younger” and “from a healthy source” therefore more adaptable than are bone marrow stem cells. We don’ agree this theory, we have found that placental stem cells need to be genetically related to the patient if they are to be successful. Placental stem cells from unrelated donors introduce three undesirable variables into the therapy: the risk of rejection, the risk of genetic disease transmission, and low effectiveness.

Stem cells are the way the body repairs itself. They are created in the bone marrow, so we like to harvest them at their source. The procedure is quick and painless, performed with experienced professionals in a proper state-of-the-art clinic under local anaesthesia. It’s a procedure that creates a little more work for us, but we try to give our patients every chance for success that we can.

When ProgenCell started working with stem cell therapies in 2000, we were excited by the possibility of treating previously incurable diseases by means of an innocuous biological agent. It has been far too common for pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy to produce dangerous side-effects even when they don’t achieve their intended goal. The worst that stem cells do, on the other hand, is nothing.

But ProgenCell isn’t in the business of doing nothing. Our patients need to see positive results, so we use autologous hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells – the most vital and the most predictable stem cells we know about – and we are constantly looking for ways to improve their efficacy. ProgenCell is in the business of doing no harm: we harvest these stem cells in the most non-invasive way currently possible so that the patient experiences no pain and suffers no convalescence.

Twelve years of experience later, we are even more excited because regenerative medicine’s horizon continues to expand. We find more and more degenerative, chronic, and formerly hopeless diseases are responding to ProgenCell’s treatments while, during all of that time, we have had not a single complication. Angina, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cardiac myopathy, congestive heart failure, diabetes, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, kidney insufficiency, liver insufficiency, lupus, macular degeneration, muscular sclerosis, nerve injury, neurologic disease, optic atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, retinitis pigmentosa, traumatic brain injury – there are really too many conditions to list. If your doctor has told you that your condition is incurable, let ProgenCell know about it. We just might give you the improvement you’ve been looking for. And we promise to do no harm.

Hippocratic Oath

Systemic sclerosis, also called scleroderma, is a disabling disease in which a patient’s soft tissues become hardened by fibrosis. This can affect skin, muscles, vital internal organs, and blood vessels. Most patients also experience numbness in their extremities and intensified reactions to cold and to anxiety. The cause of scleroderma is believed to be auto-immunological. There is no established cure.

It’s believed that some 1,500,00 women and 500,000 men suffer from systemic sclerosis, but the figures are uncertain because most cases in the past have gone undiagnosed. Due to the nature of the disease’s effects, orthopedic surgeons have seen most cases in order to treat the shortening of muscles and tendons, to remove dead tissue, and to amputate infected extremities. As the disease has become better known, patients are being referred to rheumatologists familiar with autoimmune diseases.

Chemotherapy utilizing intravenous cyclophosphamide, an immunosuppressive drug, has offered some improvement. But the greatest hope is being offered by the infusion of autologous hematopoietic stem cells, a technique that ProgenCell pioneered at the turn of this century. The good news has been reported in the Grand Rapids Press and in USA Today.

In 2011, a stem cell therapy almost identical to ProgenCell’s own was tested clinically at Duke University in North Carolina. Patients from that trial talk about their experiences on this eye-opening video:

If you suffer from scleroderma, you don’t have to hope for another clinical trial in the United States. Help is already available just a few minutes south of San Diego, California. You can begin your recovery today by contacting ProgenCell for a complimentary evaluation of your case.

Shannon O'Brien, Tijuana makes me happy, stem cells, Mexico, TijuanaSource Link – Tijuana Makes me happy.
by Yuriria Sierra

La ciudad más al norte del país y de tan alejada, pareciera que le permitió a su gente desarrollar sus habilidades, sus encantos, sus talentos para hacerse de una identidad mexicana, sí, pero que da un toque muy distinto al de otras ciudades del país. Tijuana es una ciudad que intimida; se han contado tantas historias, muchas de ellas tristes, violentas, dolorosas, que le dieron un aire temeroso y que a quienes no han estado en ella los últimos años, los hace meditar dos veces si llegar a ella es una buena idea.

Tijuana es paso. Parada rigurosa para quienes, mexicanos o de cualquier parte del mundo, deciden dar el salto hacía un sueño americano que parece tan cercano desde su frontera, desde aquella reja maltrecha colocada sobre la arena de Playas y que por la noche tiene en la Bahía de San Diego un fondo luminoso, que dice que ahí están los tantos sueños que persiguen.

Pero, también, Tijuana es una ciudad que se vive y crece desde su límite con el mar, hasta el camino que inicia recorrido rumbo a Tecate o Rosarito. Tijuana es el arco metálico con un reloj al centro que parece no tener sentido, pero que es símbolo de una ciudad que, justamente, pareciera no tenerlo, que se pierde entre sus calles, sus barrancos, sus colonias americanizadas, sus colonias populares, su estatua deAbraham Lincoln fuera de lugar sobre Avenida de los Héroes o su Avenida Revolución con su Maguana.

Tijuana es, pero también ha sido. Fue una de las ciudades más violentas del país. Vio nacer ahí a uno de los cárteles más peligrosos de México: Tijuana fue Los Arellano Félix. Tijuana fue crímenes diarios, fue estadística histórica.

Tijuana es hoy una de las ciudades fronterizas más seguras. En apenas unos años ha reducido sus índices delictivos. Cifras oficiales hablan de que el secuestro se redujo en 70%, el homicidio en 30% y el robo con violencia en 23 por ciento. Tijuana fue violencia y narcotráfico, pero hoy, aunque es imposible decir que es una ciudad libre de ellos, ha logrado quitarse ese estigma, ya no son referencias. Tijuana ya no es la ciudad fronteriza más peligrosa del país. Ha logrado dar el vuelco, convertirse en una ciudad de inversión, infraestructura: una ciudad que convoca.

Llego a esta ciudad tras el llamado para participar en Tijuana Innovadora, evento que se ha realizado durante varios años y que ha sido testigo de ese cambio dado. A su paso, este evento a visto cómo las condiciones han mejorado y es símbolo de ese giro que ha dado la ciudad, cuando en 2010 atravesaba uno de sus años más violentos, y que hoy, apenas dos años después, se coloca como uno de los municipios que más inversión genera, el octavo a nivel nacional.

Tijuana, como dice el título de este texto, referencia a aquella famosa canción de Nortec, me hace feliz de verla así. Y es que, a pesar de las circunstancias del país, se convirtió en un ejemplo de que sí, sí se puede convertir un ambiente de miedo y crimen, en uno próspero y que da pasos que hace tres años eran imposibles de imaginar.

Now that the United States is starting to get into stem cell therapy, some of our patients have been choosing ProgenCell just to save a little money. We think that’s a good idea, too, but we really want our patients to choose us for our higher standard of care.

Everyone brags about their standard of care – even if they’re just resting on the laurels of the “made in the USA” trademark – but we’ve been at pains to document ours. The keystone is our membership in the International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS). We’re already made it to their third level of certification.

IBMS is the international authority that certifies physicians, surgeons, and dentists in every country of the world. This is an important service for medical tourism. To be granted IBMS’s “gold” level, we needed to present all of our medical degrees and licenses for third-party validation and we had to demonstrate that we indemnify patients in the event a complication arises from one of our procedures, even after the patient has returned home.

Not one clinic or practitioner of regenerative medicine in the United States has achieved as high a level of certification as ProgenCell.

Patient satisfaction


Since the discovery of stem cells, we have found them in a variety of places. They are found, of course, at the beginning of life as the building blocks of the embryo. But they are also found in the placenta and in the blood contained in the umbilical cord and can be harvested from these sources without creating ethical dilemmas. They are also created all day long in our bone marrow – this is how the body continues to repair itself – and are sent out from the marrow into the bloodstream to settle wherever they’re needed, even into the body’s fat.

It looks like stem cell therapy got off on the wrong foot when researchers discovered them in embryos. Those primordial stem cells set off a religious controversy that has colored the field of regenerative medicine ever since. And, as things turned out, they are not even much use to us clinically.

We have found that stem cells are a little like wine in that where they come from affects their qualities. The most primordial stem cells come from embryos: they are the most powerful – and the most unpredictable, making them unsuitable for therapeutic applications. The most distant stem cells, such as the ones taken from adipose tissue (body fat), are the least effective. And there is a genetic component to successful therapy – a person’s body accepts their own stem cells much more readily than it accepts someone else’s stem cells.

Those of us who work in the field of regenerative medicine are currently trying out different permutations of these variables in order to learn which approaches work better than others. The effect on the marketplace of so many alternative approaches has been bewildering, especially since we are bringing our theories directly to our prospective patients. With so many competing claims, which clinic could be your best choice?

ProgenCell advice to all prospective patients is to look at the clinic’s willingness to understand your individual case and apply divergent approaches. A doctor who insists on holding to a specific protocol is offering one-size-fits-all therapy for his own personal benefit; the doctor who is willing to consider alternatives, even if they’re from a other medical fields, is a doctor who has the patient in mind and is concerned to make each therapy as effective as possible for each patient.

Wild west medicine

Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of visual impairment in older people. The patient loses vision in the center of the visual field and is left with only the ability to see colors and shapes. This condition is currently being treated with laser coagulation and expensive monthly injections into the eye’s vitreous humor; sadly, those results have been generally disappointing.

Carlos Costilla, a fifty-two-year-old AMD patient, came to ProgenCell from Río Gallegos in southern Argentina. Before he returned home, he videotaped a testimonial that can be seen on YouTube. Here we have translated his comments into English:

The procedure is very simple, as it turned out. I showed up a little frightened, not knowing quite what would happen, but the treatment really isn’t painful at all. I had worried about nothing. I spent six or seven days in treatment, all completely painless, relaxing even. I was in the clinic maybe an hour or an hour and a half each day without any ill effects.

I came to ProgenCell because my wife went on the Internet looking for treatment options for my condition. I had been losing my eyesight. She found only a few places in the whole the world. After we talked with the people at ProgenCell, we decided on them. And the doctors here have exceeded our expectations.

Everyone has been very kind, very friendly, very professional. We know them all by name. They made us feel like we were in our own home – it never occurred to me that I wasn’t healthy.

Before trying the ProgenCell therapy, I had received one injection of Avastin. I didn’t continue with that because it didn’t give me any hope for improvement. We decided on ProgenCell because we were able to understand it from the medical information we received and we felt that they could really deliver positive results.

It was easy to travel to Tijuana and, once we got here, we received constant attention from the staff of ProgenCell. In fact, they even picked us up from the airport and drove us to the clinic. They have made us very comfortable. Their considerateness has been unexpected and has added to our peace of mind, which is very important for such a serious medical condition as macular degeneration.

Our time in Tijuana has been very peaceful. We’ve gone for walks, been to good restaurants, visited a lot of places in town without any problem. We decided to spend twelve days here.

When we told our friends that we would be going to ProgenCell for treatment, most of them were surprised. Then we told them about how much attention we were given, how well we understood the procedure that was going to be performed, and how well-grounded in stem cell therapy ProgenCell had made us. Our friends were suprised in a different way and became believers. And now we can go back to them and show them the proof.

Without a doubt I would recommend ProgenCell’s treatment to anyone because I feel really good, very content, and believe I am seeing results already. I would certainly recommend ProgenCell to a friend or a family member. It isn’t just that the doctors at ProgenCell are the right ones to treat macular degeneration, it’s the human touch of everyone there that is very important, from the administrative staff to the medical team to the support staff. Exceptionally warm, humane care and very self-possessed.

It has been a long-standing axiom in business that quality is no mistake. As scientists, we were trained to believe this even in high school. So it’s only natural that ProgenCell, which, among its physicians, contains an aggregate of more than a hundred years of scientific investigation and practice, would insist on applying a quality-management system to everything we do.

There are many systems to choose from – even the scientific method itself is a form of quality control – but in the end we chose to adopt the ISO9000 method because of its international recognition and because of its emphasis on guaranteeing our patients’ satisfaction.

We’d like to say a few words about ISO9000 for our patients in the United States because that’s the one part of the world where ISO9000 is least known.

The method derives the work of Dr Edwards Deming, an American engineer who was sent to Japan after World War II to help rebuild their economy. ISO9000 acknowledges the continuity of process from supplier to producer to customer and, so, requires us to ensure the quality of what we receive, what we do, and what we sell. Our goals and procedures are written out clearly so that there can be no confusion in our purpose or our process. ISO9000 acknowledges the importance of both continuous and continual improvement of our products and, so, requires regular review (“audits”) of everything we do, during which we constantly answer the question “Is there something here we could be doing better?”

In our line of work, satisfied customers are rarely repeat customers. It’s their good will and what they tell their friends that builds our business. It is, therefore, vitally important that every patient leaves ProgenCell feeling that we exceeded their expectations.

For those interested in more information on the ISO9000 method, a good primer can be found online. The sections that apply to ProgenCell specifically are the most recent revisions of ISO9001 and ISO9004.

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