FAQ's -  

Where is Nova Cells Institute’s labs and treating facilities located? Is this area of Mexico safe? What’s the nearest US city & airport?

A. NCIM’s lab is located in the state of Baja, Mexico. Patient treatments are done in Mexico in clinics and hospitals conveniently located near the San Diego - Tijuana border. Many Mexican specialty clinics and physicians are utilized by Nova Cells program. This includes imaging centers that handle doing MRIs, CTs, and X-rays; specialists in neurology, cardiology, respiratory medicine, internal medicine, ER (traumatology), orthopedic medicine, pediatrics, urology, oncology, etc.; hospitals and clinics that are equipped and experienced in doing tissue harvesting and treatments by various means including intravenous (IV) drip, intrathecal infusion (“lumbar puncture”), catheter, and more.

Cooperating clinics and hospitals are located very close to the US - Mexico border. This area is very clean and secure. Read what these 2 NCIM patients had to say about this: "I wanted to let everyone know about the hospital, doctors and staff in Mexico where I was treated. The hospital itself was more than I expected in every aspect. It was clean, neat, quite attractive and the room they had me in was better than most in the USA - it was large, well lit, nice photos on walls, great furniture and bed and very quiet. The doctors all came to introduce themselves, to chat some and all were friendly, smiling, happy and no hurry to rush away. They were well dressed too. The nurses, well, I could not have asked for any that would have been better. Aside from language differences and the fact that I know little Spanish, we got along great. They were all friendly, happy, smiling and took great care of me, even got hugs. The woman who served meals, she was a great middle aged woman, also with smiles and making sure everything was to my liking. Even the cleaning woman was friendly, smiley faced. The surgery room was also very neat, clean and more than I expected. All in all, I would certainly calm any fears that people have about Mexican hospitals and doctors and staff at this facility."

NCIM’s treatment facilities are closest to San Diego, California, USA. As a result most Nova Cells patients fly into San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport and stay at hotels either near there (Many of which offer free shuttle service to and from the airport). On the day of treatment patients and their companion(s) are picked up and transported to and from Mexico by an English & Spanish language fluent driver (There is no charge to transport the patient and up to three others, e.g., attendant caregivers and /or family). Note that patients and their companion(s) coming from outside Mexico including minor children will need to bring their passports with them in order to enter and leave Mexico. 

Who chooses the specific stem or progenitor (precursor) cells or blend of stem or progenitor cells that are used to treat a specific disease or condition?

A. Typically, NCIM’s team determines which specific stem or progenitor cell or cells or combination thereof is most likely to have clinical benefits in a given instance. In some cases, a physician’s experience points to a way to the best treatment choice. In others such as when there is little or no reliable clinical experience to tap nor anything of a clinical experience nature published in the mainstream scientific literature, a decision is made based on whatever can be determined from published scientific and medical literature in tandem with insights provided by theory, logic, and reason.

Do Nova Cells affiliated clinics and its stem cell program adhere to the highest standards?

A. NCIM affiliated and contracted clinics are all in good standing in terms of meeting regulatory standards set forth for medical clinics by the Department of Health, State of Baja, CP, Mexico.

What kind of stem cells does Nova Cells utilize to treat people?

(1) Bone marrow stem and precursor or progenitor cells taken from a modest bone marrow sample harvested from the patient.

(2) Umbilical cord blood stem cells. These come from disease - screened cord blood from Type O blood that is gender matched to the patient - recipient.

(3) Umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly - derived stem cells.

(4) Placental stem cells. These come from disease - screened placentas donated by healthy young women in Mexico who gave birth to healthy babies.

Note: NCIM does not harvest or use adipose (fat) stem cells. 

Which diseases & medical conditions does NCIM treat?

A. NCIM focuses primarily on neurologic issues and cancer. It has had notable to stellar responses/outcomes in individuals with spinal bifida, cerebral palsy, diabetic neuropathy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury (SCI). Its immunologic - based cancer therapy approach has resulted in partial and total remission in individuals with advanced, disseminated (metastatic) prostate and other forms of cancer. Dementia patients have had phenominal improvements (see our "news" category for press releases)

How does NCIM’s pricing compare to other foreign stem cell medicine clinics and hospitals? 

Nova Cells treatments generally cost appreciably less than most others offered by private Baja - based clinics doing stem cell - focused therapies, and very much less than most of the stem cell treating programs it has cost figures on in Panama, Thailand, China, South Korea, the Ukraine, India and elsewhere. In addition, no brokers, marketers or other middlemen are involved which is one reason its treatments are less expensive. Patients deal directly with the scientists, doctors and others who are part of the Nova Cells program. 

What about Nova Cells contracted laboratories? What exactly do they do?

A. The hematology laboratories Nova Cells utilizes in Mexico include government facilities. NCIM’s Director of Laboratory Services, Abel Pena, both utilizes and has created a number of highly innovative technologies and methods which help insure that the cells used – whether from the patient’s own body or from a donor – are both robust and apt to confer maximum clinical benefit.

NOTE: In some instances the stem cells are primed to become the desired bodily cell. To do stem cell priming, NCIM’s director of laboratory services, Abel Pena, takes the stem cells and utilizes specific proteins to “prime” them to respond to biochemical signals in the target tissue by becoming bodily cells that support healing and restoration.

In addition to NCIM’s proprietary priming method, stem cells are also exposed to a Beacon or homing factor (made up of specific cytokines and proteins) that help the primed stem zero in on the target tissue(s) or organ(s).

How can Nova Cells doctors and scientists be sure the cells they use are safe?

A. The use of adult stem cells from cord blood and autologous bone marrow has been going on with respect to the treatment of certain blood borne conditions including leukemia for many years now in the United States and elsewhere. These typically involve the use of chemotherapy or radiation to eradicate the patient’s diseased bone marrow followed by an infusion of non - diseased bone marrow from a donor or the patient or else stem cell – rich cord blood as a way to repopulate the bone marrow with healthy tissue. Chemotherapy and radiation carries with it short - term side effects and long - term risks. But the use of adult stem cells such as those from healthy HLA matched donor bone marrow and umbilical cord has generally proved safe over both the short - and long - term. This is not to say adult stem cell therapy is with out risks. There are lots of unknowns.
Some researchers, for instance, have found evidence that when certain stem cells are grown in culture they undergo aging and may incur deleterious genetic changes. With this said, reports of short term and downstream (long term) negative outcomes in the tens of thousands of patients treated with adult stem cells in private stem cell clinics across the world are “few and far between”. Exceedingly few if any genuine “horror stories” have emerged, with most of these involving transplants of fetal embryonic cells or “fetal cells,” infections because of contaminated cells and implants of adult cells directly into a diseased organ. Here are a few of the better known:

In 2001 a boy with a crippling neurodegenerative disease called ataxia telangiectasia (AT) was treated with injections of human fetal neural stem cells into his brain and spinal canal in Moscow (He had additional treatments in 2002 and 2004). Four years following his first treatment he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was determined to be a slow growing “glioneuronal neoplasm.” And in 2010, a woman with an autoimmune kidney disease called lupus nephritis died two years after receiving an experimental stem cell treatment at a private clinic in Thailand. Apparently stem cells from her own bone marrow were injected directly into her kidneys resulting in gradual loss of function in first one kidney, than the other. The direct injection of stem cells into kidneys is a departure from what the vast majority of private stem cell clinics advertise, which are intravenous (IV) drip infusions. (4) Infections occurred on the heels of a stem cell treatment, indicating the cells were contaminated in the lab or the causative pathogen (disease - causing microorganism) was transferred by medical personnel administering them. For instance, three western MDs followed seven (7) spinal cord injury patients who were treated with fetal brain tissue injections at a hospital in China. They reported that five (5) developed complications including meningitis and none experienced “clinically useful improvements” (Most of the patients believed otherwise). It is, of course, difficult to get a handle on the precise numbers of stem cell treated patients who develop complications especially infections due to such things as patients getting treated for this back home and not reporting it to the treating clinic, varying policies concerning adverse event reporting by clinics in the various countries where stem cell therapy is allowed, clinic under - reporting or not reporting such incidences, etc. This said, those reports that have surfaced do not suggest such complications are commonplace or frequent (By contrast and to help put things in perspective: In the United States approximately 27 million surgical procedures are performed annually. In 2001 the CDC estimated the about 290,000 Surgical Site Infections or SSIs occur every year. Approximately 8,000 patient deaths are associated with these infections).

For its part, Nova Cells takes great, even extraordinary care to insure that the cells produced in its affiliated laboratories are carefully processed using equipment, technologies, reagents, growth factors and such that are suitable for producing cells for use in humans, and that these cells are free of microbial contamination and healthy and robust. It also contracts only physicians and other medical personnel who are highly qualified and experienced; men and women who work out of clinics and hospitals that are licensed and approved to handle not just the medical diagnostic and treatment aspects of patient care, but emergencies as well.

In addition, Nova Cells restricts patient enrollments to people struggling with terminal or intractable illnesses and medical conditions, as well as those faced with a situation in which the window of opportunity for seeing clinical benefits is likely to close in the near future. Those who do enroll and qualify for care are educated concerning the experimental nature, risks and unknowns in stem cell therapy.  

Can you provide more details on the background of priming stem cells? Can primed stem cells cause harm?

Stem cell priming by definition encompasses many high varied approaches from exposing stem cells to specific drugs that promote their differentiation into specific somatic (bodily) cells to infusing stem cells with mRNA, microRNA, and other proteins to simply co-culturing stem cells with specific somatic cells that can influence what they become. The method Abel Pena developed actually exploits and plugs into mechanisms that nature uses to prod stem cells to follow specific developmental pathways, i.e., to prime stem cells to become neuronal cells or heart cells, for instance. 

        Originally Abel was trained in priming methods by a stem cell biologist who pioneered this for a major R & D corporation located in Irvine, California. This biologist used electroporation methods to open up stem cells so he could infuse them with naturally occurring proteins that would favor or prime them to differentiate into specific somatic cells such as neurons and astrocytes. This method did not cause mutations or otherwise alter the stem cell's DNA and resulted in no untoward effects in experiments in mice, rats and later chimpanzees. 

        Abel took this body of science and made it more effective. He also participated in the creation of a <strong>Beacon or homing factor</strong> that helps get stem cells to target tissues. 

        The combination of the priming method and Beacon factor is what has helped produce truly impressive clinical responses in both children and adults. No side effects or adverse effects have been reported and are not expected as Abel's method does not impact DNA -- it simply furnishes proteins to stem cells that they process normally with the end result one of prodding the stem cells to become a specific bodily cell. 

        Here are links to but a few of the many papers published on various ways to prime stem cells:

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1634/stemcells.19-6-492/pdf - High Efficiency Electroporation of Human Umbilical Cord Blood CD34+ Hematopoietic Precursor Cells. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1549-4918, Article first published online: 1 NOV 2001 

        http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0009488 - Combined Pulse Electroporation – A Novel Strategy for Highly Efficient Transfection of Human and Mouse Cells . PLoS ONE 5(3): e9488. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009488 

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15010334 - Direct cell contact influences bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell fate. Int J Biochem Cell Biol.  2004 Apr;36(4):714-27.

        http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0019025 - Transplantation of Neuronal - Primed Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Hemiparkinsonian Rodents

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104474310300068X - Neurons and astrocytes secrete factors that cause stem cells to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes, respectively. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Volume 23, Issue 3, July 2003, Pages 414–426

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(03)00278-3/fulltext-Priming procedure produces pure population of neurons. The Lancet Neurology, Volume 2, Issue 1, Page 4, January 2003

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21893931 - Priming of mesenchymal stem cells with oxytocin enhances the cardiac repair in ischemia/reperfusion injury. Cells Tissues Organs. 2012;195(5):428-42. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21836090 - Mesenchymal stem cells primed with valproate and lithium robustly migrate to infarcted regions and facilitate recovery in a stroke model. Stroke. 2011 Oct;42(10):2932-9. Epub 2011 Aug 11.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21542714 - Growth factor priming of synovium - derived stem cells for cartilage tissue engineering. Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 Sep;17(17-18):2259-65. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21281488 - In - vivo generation of bone via endochondral ossification by in-vitro chondrogenic priming of adult human and rat mesenchymal stem cells. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Jan 31;12:31.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20629539 - Hyaluronic acid and thrombin upregulate MT1-MMP through PI3K and Rac-1 signaling and prime the homing - related responses of cord blood hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Stem Cells Dev. 2011 Jan;20(1):19-30. Epub 2010 Oct 25.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19166836 - In vitro priming to direct neuronal fate in adult neural progenitor cells. Exp Neurol. 2009 Apr;216(2):520-4. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

Is there a phone number I can call to get more information on the Nova Cells program? Email address?

A. Yes, there is. For those who prefer to speak in English or Spanish, call 1-562-916-3410 (10am to 7pm Pacific Time, M-F).

        Those who prefer to email can send messages to NCInfodesk@gmail.com or fill out the FAQ;s Form below


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