The Nassau Stem Cell Institute: FAQS

Who performs treatment at the NSCI

All treatment is provided by Chadwick Prodromos MD. He is board certified in both Orthopaedic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine and is internationally recognized for his work in this area. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton, MD from Johns Hopkins, Orthopaedic Surgery residency from Rush, where he served as Assistant Professor for 27 years, and Orthopaedic fellowship from The Harvard Medical School and Mass. General Hospital. His full biography is available here.

What kind of Stem Cell Treatment is available at The NSCI

We use autologous (your own cells), collagenase-digested, Adipose-Derived (from fat), MSCs: or ADMSCs. Fat is the most abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells, which are the type used for most regenerative medicine applications.

What does “collagenase-digested” mean

For best results (see below) the tissue around the stem cells should be digested away. This is best done with the enzyme collagenase. Other methods exist, but collagenase-digestion is the gold standard.

Where are the stem cells injected

They are injected into any arthritic joint, and also intra-venously. We inject the knee most often, followed by the shoulder, hip, foot and ankle, hand and wrist, and back.

Why did you set up this clinic in Nassau instead of performing these treatments in the United States

Although thousands of these treatments have been performed in Asia, Europe, Central and South America and on a limited basis in the United States with no documented adverse events in reputable clinics when injected into joints or intra-venously, the US FDA does not allow them to be performed in the United States.

Why do they not allow this procedure

They say that even though this is your own tissue that this is not a medical procedure but rather creation of a drug because the fat is treated to remove the other tissue from the stem cells: notwithstanding that this treatment is simple, safe and rapid allowing the isolated cells to be injected back a short time after they are harvested. The studies necessary for drug approval cost literally billions of dollars and realistically are only affordable by pharmaceutical companies. However pharmaceutical companies have no interest in performing these studies because there is no way for them to be a middleman and generate a profit from them, since this is using the patient’s own tissue and not a drug that they manufacture. The FDA does allow collagenase-digested MSCs to be used in very limited circumstances as part of studies called INDs or IDEs. In fact, I am part of one such study and will be able to offer this treatment probably later this year, but only in limited circumstances, and not intra-venously.

Are any stem cell treatments approved in the United States.

The FDA does allow bone marrow which contains MSCs to be injected. However only about 40,000 cells can be injected in this way. And the FDA will allow fat to be injected, but without collagenase digestion and only as a cushioning agent. This allows injection of about 200,000 MSCs in fat, but they are encased in a matrix that limits their ability to act. Nonetheless we do offer this technique with good success for moderate arthritis. It is much less effective in severe arthritis.

How does the ADMSC treatment in the Bahamas compare to what you offer in the US

It is substantially better in 3 ways.

  • We are able to inject several million stem cells at a time, rather than 200,000 or so that we are now allowed to inject.
  • The stem cells have their tissue encasements digested away so that the stem cells are free to act to help heal tissue, which is not the case with the fat stem cells we are injecting in the US.
  • We are able to inject the cells intra-venously, in addition to intra-articularly (in the joint), which studies have shown exerts a systemic anti-inflammatory effect beyond what occurs by injection into the joint alone.

How do the stem cells help arthritis

3 ways

  • They have growth factors - transforming growth factor Beta and platelet derived growth factor being the two most important - which help heal damaged cartilage and joint tissue.
  • They have anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 1 receptor antagonist which quell inflammation without damaging tissue (as cortisone does), and without interfering with healing (as NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen, aleve, diclofenac, meloxicam and Celebrex do).
  • The intra-venous injection modulates the immune system to decrease the body’s harmful effects on its own joints. This is particularly important for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Are there any risks

Properly performed ADMSC injections are amazingly safe, with no documented adverse events despite widespread use. The lipo-aspiration is safe with only minimal discomfort performed in the office.

How Long Do I Need to Stay in Nassau

You would need to arrive the day before the procedure and stay a minimum of 48 hours after. Many patients prefer to stay longer to enjoy the beauty of Nassau.

What Accommodations are Available

The 5 star Baha Mar is a new world class beach resort close by to the NSCI. Prices are well below other resorts of this caliber. Many other hospitality alternatives also exist.

What about cost

No insurance company pays for this treatment. However our prices are well below what is charged at many centers for this treatment.

How Am I Able to See If I am A Candidate for Treatment

Call our office at 847-699-6810 in the Chicago area and ask for Sue Finkle RN. She will perform a preliminary screening interview at no charge. If warranted we will ask you to send us your X-rays, or we will order them wherever you live and have them sent to us. In some cases, but not usually, an MRI may be required as well. Then Nurse Finkle and Dr. Prodromos will conduct a secure video or audio consultation with you to discuss possible alternatives. There is no charge for this process. If treatment is desired it will be scheduled for the NSCI.

Call our office at 847-699-6810 in the Chicago area and ask for Sue Finkle RN. She will perform a preliminary screening interview at no charge. If warranted we will ask you to send us your X-rays, or we will order them wherever you live and have them sent to us. In some cases, but not usually, an MRI may be required as well. Then Nurse Finkle and Dr. Prodromos will conduct a secure video or audio consultation with you to discuss possible alternatives. There is no charge for this process. If treatment is desired it will be scheduled for the NSCI.

Am I part of a study

We prospectively evaluate all patients. Our current study of Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cell Treatments number over 3,000 such treatments and is the largest by a single Orthopaedic Surgeon of which we are aware. We derive real data which helps immeasurably in advising patients as to likely outcome, and is beneficial to the medical community as well where such data is quite scarce. After treatment we follow up remotely every six months and then yearly in perpetuity to derive long term treatment data. The study is done under the auspices of the FOREM (foundation for orthopaedics and regenerative medicine) a 501c3 non-profit foundation founded by Dr. Prodromos to perform cutting edge clinical research and provide education on regenerative Medicine to the public at large and the medical community.

  • American Academy Regenerative Medicine
  • American Academy and Board of Regenerative Medicine
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • isakos
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery Academy
  • International Cartilage Repair Society