Turning Chiropractors into Stem Cell Experts: Stem Cell Institute of America - Regenexx®

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

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?

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Read 4 Comments
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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”.

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