Trying to find a quality regenerative medicine clinic is tough. There’s more misinformation out there than good information. This morning I’ll review a chiropractic clinic called Denver Regenerative Medicine. Let’s dig in.
Denver Regenerative Medicine
Located in central Denver, Denver Regenerative Medicine is a chiropractic clinic that offers stem cell therapy, hormone replacement, and testosterone treatments. It claims that it uses all sorts of proprietary types of treatments. One of those includes using hormone therapy to help stem cells heal.
Dr. Joel Cherdack
Dr. Cherdack is a chiropractor who owns Denver Regenerative Medicine and is not a medical doctor. Prior to getting involved in stem cells, he ran a medical marijuana clinic. Given that a chiropractor can’t perform injections, I next tried to find out who the medical doctor was at Denver Regenerative Medicine, That proved difficult.
Where’s the Physician?
It’s always interesting when you’re reviewing a stem cell therapy website and can’t find the name of a licensed physician. That holds true for Denver Regenerative Medicine. The website contains 13 pages and nowhere is the name of a physician listed. This is always concerning as if there is a stable MD or DO physician at the clinic, that’s usually advertised.
To try to find out who the provider was that performed the injections at Denver Regenerative Medicine, we called the clinic. The only name we were given was Steve Holt. Interestingly, this name is the same as an older rheumatologist who practices at Cendant Stem Cell Clinic also in Denver. However, at this time, I can’t confirm that the two Steve Holt’s are the same, as this is a common name. However, suffice it to say that on the Denver Regenerative Medicine website we can’t find the name of any physician.
What Type of Cell Therapy is Used?
The last time we called this clinic in 2017 they were using a mix of bone marrow, fat, and amniotic tissue. From a recent call and a review of their website, they’re now using mostly bone marrow and PRP. So how are these procedures delivered?
Types of Imaging Guidance
One of the key take-home messages in finding a high-quality stem cell clinic is finding one that uses both fluoroscopy (real-time x-ray) and ultrasound guidance. Why? First, “blind” injections without any imaging guidance are always a bad idea, as missing the place where the cells need to be placed is common. That’s why imaging is used to guide the needle. Denver Regenerative Medicine only uses ultrasound guidance, which is better than blind. However, the problem is that there are many injections that can’t be done well with only ultrasound, which means that it’s better to have access to fluoroscopy and ultrasound. Fluoroscopy is an x-ray technology that can help guide needles deeper into the right area or when that spot can’t be seen well on ultrasound because the area is hidden by bone. A good example is an ACL tear where the ligament lives in a bony tunnel. Fluoroscopy works better than ultrasound because it can see where the stem cells are being injected while in that bony tunnel while ultrasound can’t accomplish that feat. To learn more, see my video below:
What is AcCELLerate?
Denver Regenerative Medicine claims to use a proprietary technology known as “AcCELLerate”. The clinic claims that patients treated this way begin to see results 30% sooner and that some patients see improvement over a longer period of time. So what is this? The clinic states that it’s adding bone marrow stem cells (bone marrow concentrate) to PRP, which is the standard way that bone marrow concentrate (a bone marrow stem cell procedure) is delivered. Hence, this is not a proprietary idea or even a novel one.
More importantly, certain claims are made about faster healing and longer results. So has Denver Regenerative Medicine published any research that its proprietary AnCELLerate therapy works better or any research at all on this therapy? There seems to be a research page, so let’s dive in.
Regrettably, the “Research” page on these chiropractic websites is usually where the claims fall apart and Denver Regenerative Medicine is no different. Specifically, none of these studies listed on this page were performed by Denver Regenerative Medicine and none use the AcCELLerate protocol they describe. Basically, this is the research typical bait and switch. Let’s review what’s listed:
- A lab experiment using a non-FDA approved chemical to differentiate culture-expanded mesenchymal stem cells. DRM doesn’t use this cell type which is very different than bone marrow concentrate.
- A case series on the use of PRP to treat patellar tendinopathy, Achilles tendons, rotator cuff tendinopathy, and knee arthritis. While DRM uses PRP, it didn’t publish this research.
So while Denver Regenerative Medicine makes a big deal about AcCELLerate, it has published no clinical research of its own on this technique.
Stem Cells + Hormones
A big deal is made on the Denver Regenerative Medicine website about the use of stem cells with HRT (aka Hormone Replacement Therapy). In fact, that treatment protocol is given a name, “REJUVENATE”. So does correcting someone’s older hormone levels help stem cell therapy? Nope. We actually did this research project a few years back.
We took middle-aged and elderly men with low testosterone levels and placed them on the most common testosterone replacement protocol for 3 months. We took their bone marrow stem cells before and after the therapy and then tested the cells in our lab in various ways. First, while we expected to see an increase in the number of stem cells because of the HRT, but that didn’t happen. We also expected these testosterone-treated cells to be more active and more robust. Our lab tests didn’t show that either. Hence, we abandoned the idea that we would routinely use hormone replacement in our stem cell patients.
To learn more about the results from that experiment, see my video below:
The upshot? In my review of Denver Regenerative Medicine, I’ve come across a few red flags. First, on the good side, the clinic uses bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma, which is great as those are the two technologies that have the most research support in treating orthopedic injuries. However, the physician used at the clinic to deliver these technologies is still an unknown on the website and even after a phone call. In addition, the clinic doesn’t use both imaging technologies that are required to get stem cells into all of the places possible to enhance healing, instead, it uses only one of the two possible. In addition, much fanfare is made about two proprietary technologies used, but the clinic has failed to publish any research showing that either works as advertised. In fact one concept, hormones + stem cells, we tested and had to abandon due to the fact that it didn’t work.