Frequently Asked Questions
Is the use of stem cells controversial?+
Adult stem cell treatment should not be confused with the controversial use of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), which received a great deal of media publicity several years ago. There is no controversial use for adult and cord blood stem cells (the types of cells The Institute uses exclusively), which have been used for decades to treat a myriad of medical conditions. These adult stem cells can be safely and easily collected and can even be stored for possible future use should the individual require stem cell therapy (transplant) later in life.
Are there any approved stem cell-based products for use to treat, cure or prevent disease?+
Stem cell-based products, like other medical products that are intended to treat, cure or prevent diseases, generally require FDA approval before they can be marketed. The FDA has approved the use of stem cell-based products, including cord blood-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells (blood forming stem cells) for many diseases.
Whose adult stem cells are used in the treatment?+
When possible, the use of a patient’s own stem cells is the most desirable option. Unlike cells donated by other individuals, a patient’s own stem cells are always an exact, 100% match. No time is lost in the search to find a suitable and willing donor and donor cell rejection becomes a virtual non-issue. When not feasible, a suitable adult donor is pursued.
Who is a good candidate for stem cell preservation/banking?+
Most people are able to take advantage of this service in one way or another.
Individuals who are healthy and desire to secure quality of life in later years should consider banking their healthy immune system.
People who have health issues can measure their immune system first. If an individual is found to have a compromised immune system or if they are battling a disease, stem cell collection would be recommended after treatment has corrected the immune system to the point where it can be banked and used to the person’s benefit later.
Individuals who should also consider stem cell preservation are those with a family history of disease and want to do all they can to avoid occurrence in their own lives. People who are exposed to environmental toxins and radiation, such as firefighters, radiologists, technologists, and other first responders often bank their stem cells. Anyone who is exposed to conditions or treatments which can or have increased the risk of adversely affecting their immune system are good candidates.
When banked, stem cells/immune cells do not deteriorate with age as they do in the body over time. Therefore, anyone interested in doing all they can to improve health and secure quality of life in their later years can store their healthy stem cells/immune cells to “reset” their immune system later in life.
Parents and grandparents also choose to gift harvesting and storage for their children.
How does stem cell harvesting and storage work?+
In everyone, stem cells that reside primarily in the bone marrow, leave and circulate in the blood stream at very low levels. However, the number of circulating stem cells can be significantly increased by a process called “stem cell mobilization,” which makes bountiful harvesting of stem cells easier and more productive.
Harvesting of these stem cells is a relatively painless procedure in which the patient’s blood is circulated through a cell-separating machine. This device removes a fraction of the white cells (including the stem cells) and stores them. The cells are then frozen at below minus 150 degrees celsius and stored indefinitely. At a later date—even many years down the road—the stored stem cells can be re-infused safely into the bloodstream. The patient’s own stem cells, which are always a 100-percent donor match, naturally migrate to the bone marrow where they multiply and mature into red and white cells and platelets, thereby stimulating and virtually “resetting” the immune system.
Is this experimental medicine?+
Each year, thousands of healthy individuals donate their stem cells/immune cells through national and international marrow/stem cell donor organizations to help others who suffer with cancer and other disorders of the blood and immune system. It was determined that individuals, using the same time-proven procedure for healthy donors, could also donate to themselves in the interest of improving their own health and securing quality of life in their later years.
Dr. Maharaj and the Maharaj Institute continue to advance a personalized and precision-based approach with the knowledge of more than three decades of intensive clinical experience and application. Regenerative Medicine is currently viewed as advanced medicine and has recently been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences as the future of medical treatments.
Is stem cell treatment covered by insurance?+
Currently, many stem cell treatments, harvesting and storage may not be covered by insurance. Contact one of our Patient Navigators to check if the procedure is covered or not by your medical insurance benefit.
What is Immune Regenerative Medicine?+
Immune Regenerative Medicine is the field of medicine which encompasses numerous strategies used to improve the body’s healing response in restoring the cells and function of the innate and adaptive immune system. This is especially valuable for those patients with diseases that compromise or create an abnormal immune system as well as for those apparently healthy individuals who are at higher risk of developing diseases due to family history or exposure to certain environmental conditions.
What is unique about the Maharaj institute?+
Dr. Maharaj, the founder and medical director of the Maharaj Institute, was actively involved in the pioneering work of autologous stem cell transplantation for blood cancer patients in Scotland in the early 1980’s. Autologous stem cell transplantation was one of the first forms of immune regenerative treatments to show that patients can have long term disease free survival after the transplant by re-instatement of immune surveillance. For almost three decades,Dr. Maharaj has been treating patients with blood cancers and immune disorders in a totally outpatient basis, leading the field for a personalized and precision-based approach to disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences have recognized Regenerative Medicine as the “next evolution of treatments.” The Maharaj Institute of Immune Regenerative Medicine is at the forefront of that evolution.