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Q. What about the risk of stem cells causing tumors to form where they are injected?

A. There is no report of a tumor growing in an area where the patient’s own cells were injected into an orthopedically treated area. This is a possibility, however, in two circumstances:

  1. Embryonic stem cell work where the genetic make up of another human being is injected into your body. The genetic influence and triggers that may cause the stem cells to mutate or form a tumor in the future is a real risk one assumes when receiving embryonic or any autogenic stem cells from another human being.

  2. Culture expanded stem cells have the risk of being grown too long or of being put through too many passages in culture. The risk here is the more passages a stem cell is passed through, the more chances the stem cell can mutate into a tumor cell that could go unrecognized and be implanted into the host patient, thus putting them at risk of developing a tumor. At the time of this writing in 2013, it is illegal to culture expand stem cells in the United States, so this should never happen if the stem cells are being handled and procedures performed according to FDA rules. With that said, Regenexx has the ability to culture expand a patient’s stem cells in the Cayman Island Regenexx Clinic. In that lab they never run a patient’s stem cells through more than five stem cell passages (which is the maximum amount allowed by protocol before the risk of mutations start to be seen). A sample of the patient’s grown stem cells are sent back to a university stem cell lab in the USA to make sure there are no signs or evidence of tumor cells in the patient’s stem cell sample before they are injected back into the patient.