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Pinoy doctor may hold key to fountain of youth

by Dinna Chan Vasquez

THANKS to modern technology, humans have been given the chance to live longer and look and feel better.

A Filipino doctor has partnered with a Hong Kong-based company to give his countrymen hope in experiencing renewed health and strength with autologous stem cell transplants. There is so much controversy surrounding stem-cell research because of cloning issues but plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Florencio Lucero believes that autologous transplants will not only help Filipinos but also enhance medical tourism in the Philippines. In fact, he said less than a fourth of his over 20 stem cell patients are Filipinos.

Stem cells are considered the basic building blocks of life, the basic cell from which human bodies are made. They are formed at conception and specialized to become all the different tissues of the body: muscle, nerve, organs, bone, blood and so on.

Humans tap into their bodies’ stem cell reserve to repair and replace injured or diseased tissue. Unfortunately, the reserve is finite and as it becomes depleted, the regenerative power of the body decreases and humans succumb to diseases, disorder and the ravages of aging.

Lucero explained that autologous stem cell transplants involve the harvesting of dormant stem cells from 100 cc of a patient’s fat and peripheral blood through liposuction. The harvested dormant stem cells are incubated in stimulating growth factors, isolated and infused back into the patient intravenously. The whole procedure takes up to four hours in the operating room of the hospital under local anesthesia. It takes about an hour to harvest, three hours to incubate and stimulate the stem cells and infuse them back to the patient.

Thus, Lucero, one of the Philippines’ most reputable plastic and cosmetic surgeons, said there are no moral or ethical considerations in autologous stem cell transplants as the patient’s own stem cells are harvested from abdomen fat and there is no issue with regard to matching of stem cells.

“The stem cells are from you and will be infused back to your body,” he said.

Lucero added that the best source from which to harvest stem cell from the body is fat because it is rich in mesenchyme stem cell and more than 100 times more stem cells can be harvested as compared to bone marrow.

He said autologous stem cell transplants hold great promise against a wide variety of degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, spinal cord injuries and even aging itself.

“Aside from improvement from the disease, its beneficial side effect is rejuvenation in terms of looking younger, feeling stronger and in some patients increased libido. According to highly respected scientists worldwide, we can counter the effect of aging itself and will one day enable us to live and be healthy to an age of 120 to 130 years,” said Lucero.

The transplant is an exclusive collaboration of Lucero and Dr. Bill Paspaliaris, chief executive of StemTech Ltd., Hong Kong, the provider of the technology for the transplant.

Paspaliaris holds a Ph.D degree and is also a Doctor of Medicine. He had training in clinical pharmacology and regenerative medicine. He is a clinical research scientist involved in the development and promotion of adipose-derived stem cells and their clinical use.

For information about autologous stem cell transplant, call Asian Plastic Surgery Center at 726-1111 or e-mail dr-flucero@pldtdsl.net

SOURCE: Manila Standard

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