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Turning Chiropractors into Stem Cell Experts: Stem Cell Institute of America

POSTED ON IN Uncategorized BY Chris Centeno

pbs stem cell conference

Understanding how stem cells work and how to precisely place them into joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones is hard work. In fact, if you wanted to learn the entire course curriculum on the subject given by the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation, it would take about 190 hours of your time, excluding travel. This is why when I see a Stem Cell Institute of America conference pop up that claims to be able to do it in less than 3 hours, warning and danger bells go off in my head. Let me explain.

Who Is Stem Cell Institute of America?

Stem Cell Institute of America (SCIA) is not an institute. When you think of that word, you think of dedicated teams of medical scientists toiling away at their workbenches, trying to stretch their knowledge of medical science. In fact, the only physical address we could find was in Canton, Georgia, right next to the Hallmark shop on Main Street. When a colleague went in to check it all out, he could only find a few card tables and people answering the phone. There were no scientists or lab facilities or even a healthcare provider.

The company sprang from a chiropractic-practice consultant known as PBS (Physician’s Business Solutions). PBS makes money by teaching chiro offices how to market and bill for medical services, usually by adding a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. These services include hormone replacement, medical weight loss, physical therapy, and so on. Recently, the company figured out that these chiro practices could make big bucks by marketing that they were stem cell experts and having a physician assistant inject dead amniotic tissue into joints and tendons while claiming this was a live stem cell therapy.

Learning How to Precisely Place Stem Cells Takes a Long Time

We train fellows and are instructors for the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation (IOF). If you’re one of the lucky physicians chosen to be in our fellowship program focusing on interventional orthopedics and regenerative medicine, you’ll spend a year full of 60-hour weeks learning how to place stem cells in the right place using imaging guidance. Assuming 50 weeks times 60, that’s 3,000 hours of training. If you are, instead, already a practicing physician and want to pursue the entire IOF curriculum in injecting all body parts, then this will take you about 190 hours. However, your time commitment will be even more as you’ll need to make 11 trips to be trained on cadavers and will spend time studying for tests. So call it 500 hours of your time.

What is interventional orthopedics? Watch the video below:

SCIA’s New Training Program in Stem Cells Is Bizarrely Inadequate

As I said above, SCIA sprang from the chiropractic-management group called PBS. Turns out that PBS is putting on a conference for chiropractors. This quote from the website should give you some sense of what we’re dealing with:
“We’re bringing in the heavy hitters for this one. The top experts from the most profitable service lines that are poised for huge growth in the coming year.”

Hmmmm…”Most profitable service lines.” What are those?

checkbox teal-25 Hormone Replacement Therapy

checkbox teal-25 Metabolic & Functional Medicine

checkbox teal-25 Stem Cell Therapy

checkbox teal-25 Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

checkbox teal-25 Bulletproof Compliance

checkbox teal-25 Staff Training for Practice Growthcheckbox teal-25 Best Practices for Marketing

checkbox teal-25 Selling $5,000 Cash Treatments

checkbox teal-25 Medical Weight Loss

checkbox teal-25 MD/DC Mastery

So “stem cells” are merely one profitable service line among many. The conference will also teach you (I’m assuming that they mean a PA or NP midlevel provider and not a chiropractor) to perform stem cell injections. How much training will you get?

Medical Providers will learn how to…

  • Perform precision injection procedures for regenerative medicine treatments in a 3-hour injection lab
  • Evaluate and qualify regenerative medicine patients for excellent outcomes
  • Treat soft tissue dysfunctional through homeopathic injection protocols
  • Prepare platelet rich plasma for musculoskeletal, topical and cosmetic procedures

So I can learn how to perform these orthopedic stem cell procedures in something less than three hours as I’m also learning about cosmetic PRP. So who will be teaching me these procedures?

Julie Thorne, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Expert in Stem Cells & Regenerative Therapy Service Delivery

Hmmmm…I’m going to learn how to perform these complex procedures from a nurse? Is there a physician involved?

Dr. Kent Beams, MD

Expertise in Functional Medicine and Joint Therapies, Medical Director of Stem Cell Institute of America

OK, who is this guy? To be a medical expert in a topic, you have to have performed medical research in that area. I performed a US National Library of Medicine search online to see if Kent Beams has any publications in regenerative orthopedic care. There is nothing listed. I did find this on a Florida medical-marijuana site:

“Dr. Beams experience includes acute primary care, walk-in and urgent care clinics, vein clinics, and his private anti-aging medical spa. His expertise includes treating men and women with bio-identical hormone pellets, functional medicine for all ages in treating many chronic diseases and deficiencies. He enjoys educating patients on customized dietary changes and exercise recommendations. Additionally, Dr. Beams serves as Medical Director for Stem Cell Institute of America and keeps involved with the most advanced research in regenerative medicine.”

Hmmm…Outside of saying that he is the medical director for SCIA, there seems to be no expertise or experience in image-guided procedures. In fact, his expertise seems to be in all of the other things that SCIA advertises to chiropractors as “service lines.” In fact, a closer look at his background reveals that his residency training was in pathology! What does pathology have to do with precision stem cell injections into the body using imaging guidance? Not much.

The upshot? I’ve come to expect nothing less or more from SCIA. While physicians who are serious about this area train for hundreds to thousands of hours to perfect their skills before sticking needles into patients, it looks like SCIA and PBS believe that less than three hours of training from a nurse and a pathologist whose recent experience is in medical spas, hormone replacement, and urgent-care clinics is sufficient. Why does this not surprise me?

    *DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.
    Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.


    DavePG says

    SCIA must be making a lot of money to pay for the ubiquitous full page newspaper ads I see from them all the time. I recently spoke with a friend who went to one of their "educational seminars" and was about to plunk down thousands of dollars for this "treatment." Needless to say, my friend had seconds thoughts after I showed the Regenexx website and Dr. Centeno's analysis.


    Rebecca Gavin says

    As a long time chronic pain patient, I steer clear of chiroquactors at all times, no matter who they are, even if they are practicing within a pain clinic with a physician that I am seeing. You can spot these practice building techniques a mile away - for example, in the early days of my illness, when I was experiencing pain and debilitating fatigue, a chiro was demanding that I attend a presentation on the benefits of chiropractic, and not only that, bring someone with me to learn a massage technique that person could then apply to me. I told them that with the pain and fatigue I was experiencing I could barely manage to go to work, and I was not interested in attending their presentation, let alone dragging along someone else. So, they threatened to charge me $150 for a one on one presentation at my convenience. I said no and they eventually backed down. I didn't stick around long after that anyway, as the chiro was trying to sell me beef adrenal extract. Not only was I vegan at the time this "holistic" healer tried to foist that expensive supplement off on me, but it seemed to me it might be dangerous to screw around with hormones that way.

    When I see the term "functional medicine" it reminds me of postings I see online in groups frequented by others with Psoriatic Arthritis. Often these postings are from patients who were "cured" of their PsA via "functional medicine" discouraging the newly diagnosed, or those who suspect they might have PsA from following the directions of their rheumatologists.

    It angers me that these charlatans have no compunction about training other charlatans to take advantage of people like me.


    Regenexx Team says

    PsA can be really challenging. One of our patients who has Psoriatic Arthritis has a great website many people have found encouraging. She also shared part of her story here:


    Maury Sticker says

    I've noticed that the Stem Cell Institute of America is still running the same exact full page wraparound ads in the Houston Chronicle except they are now referring to themselves as “Local Physical Medicine Centers”.


    Jim says

    If you want medicine, physical therapy, . . . then go to those specialists. If you want chiropractic adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations then find a chiropractor who does only that and not everything under the sun. The blurring of professional boundaries has gone too far.


    Alexandra P. says

    Doc I follow you in all your social media platforms and I like that Regenexx is trying to set themselves apart from other stem cell providers. I have 3 questions. 1) if there are 600,000 knee replacements each year alone and Regenexx Drs. are the 1% of medical practices, how can we stop this epidemic of needless surgeries and opioid addiction if alot of the MDs dont want to do something like stem cells and rather do the same old procedures, and now that Chiropractors are advancing their treatment goals and looking into ways to collaborate with with professionals that are criticized.
    2) Why not create a platform that can educate all of the providers you listed as not qualified to become trained by your company to help decrease this epidemic?
    3) Are these other individuals getting results from their stem cell treatments?
    I am coming from a respectful place, A country with all of these healthcare providers and we still rank at the bottom of the industrial world when it comes to healthy nations should perhaps break the cycle of insane medicine. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. We only make up 5% of the worlds population but consume 90% of all medications produced, healthcare system is bankrupt. Cancer rates Rising, heart disease rising, opioid addiction rising. We need all hands on deck. There is plenty health care dollars everywhere. Sorry for the rant. The Doctors here in Singapore are way ahead of American doctors when it comes to collaborative research and medicine.


    Chris Centeno says

    Form your use of the term, "doc", I assume you are a chiropractor, as that's a term specifically used by that profession. We have a chiro owner of Regenexx clinics in California and have entertained a few more. However, they must hire expensive and well-trained physician specialists who are then further trained through Regenexx and IOF. There are no NPs or PAs permitted to perform procedures. In addition, when these clinics use "stem cells", they can verify that they're actually injecting stem cells. Meaning, they don't bait and switch and inject dead amnio/cord tissue and call this "stem cells" to make a sale. They also look at strict candidacy criteria, meaning they turn away paying customers whom they are very unlikely to help.
    So any chiro is able to apply to be on our network, but they need to have qualified MDs and agree to specific ethical rules. Fraud is fraud is fraud. We have both chiros and MDs playing this fake stem cell injection game. However, the chiros are making themselves the most visible targets with heavy "over the top" advertising.


    Alexandra P. says

    So is this problem that they call them stem cells?
    What should they be called?
    Are their patients getting positive results?
    Btw. I'm not a Chiropractor I am a member of the public health department.


    Chris Centeno says

    This should be called an amniotic fluid or membrane injection. There are no stem cells, so calling it a stem cell therapy is like calling an antibiotic a stem cell procedure, both have no stem cells. Since these procedures have growth factors like platelet-rich plasma, some patients can get short-term relief of arthritis symptoms. However, we have seen quite a few who have spent tens of thousands and gotten no relief.


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    About the Author

    Chris Centeno

    Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…

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