I receive too many inquiries about stem cells and about Dr. Gil’s stem cell treatments in San Miguel to respond to everyone individually, so I’ve been sending out this canned response
Because of laws barring stem cell research (George Bush feared that the use of cells from placenta, which were the only cells being used at the time, would increase abortions, so only the cells currently on hand could be used in U.S. stem cell research for the subsequent 10 years). Though placenta cells aren’t used much any more, the blanket prohibition against stem cell research hindered progress in the U.S., which seems to be about 15 years behind the rest of the world.
As far as I know, stem cell treatments are only FDA approved for a few specific conditions, such as leukemia (stem cells are now the gold standard) and other blood disorders, prostate cancer, torn cartilage, damaged joints, diabetic foot ulcers, etc., and the FDA only allows cells from the patient's own body to be injected, except in some very recent clinical trials. Stem cells from other sources and treatments for other conditions are considered experimental.
"Old school" U.S. and Mexican physicians who don't keep up with the burgeoning research and modern medical practices continue to insist that stem cells are bogus, may cause cancerous tumors, may be rejected by the body, or may someday work but are now only experimental. Many physicians don’t even know that stem cell treatments are FDA approved and now routine for leukemia and injured joints!
In the U.S. (and also in China), stem cell treatments usually begin with bone marrow surgery to mine stem cells from the patient's own body. The cells are then prepared in a lab and “painted” onto the site of the injury during a second surgery, or they are injected into the problem area. So the process involves at least one operation and is very expensive. n addition, stem cells can only reproduce a certain # of times and then they die off.
Treating the elderly with their own stem cells is not as effective as using young cells from other sources, according to Dr. Gil, and an article about bladder cancer in the World Journal of Stem Cells said, “adult stem cells could be of less potential for long term survival due to inherent cell aging concerns.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4478628/)
Local medical practitioner of the "stem cells are bogus" mindset pointed out that even if they do work long-term studies don't exist, because stem cell treatments haven't been around that long. I think that point is valid and definitely something for the 45-and-under crowd to consider.
When umbilical chords were found to be rich sources of stem cells, U.S. and Mexican parents who could afford it were storing their children's umbilical chords in special banks in case their child ever needed an organ (and if the FDA ever legalized stem cell treatments for organ regeneration in the U.S.). hen teeth ere found to be a rich in stem cells, and I heard (though I haven't researched this) that American kids aren’t allowed to put their baby teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy. I don't know whether the parents store them in a drawer at home or take them to a special storage facility.
In San Miguel de Allende, Dr. César Gil administers commercial stem cells via injection, so there is no need for bone marrow surgery, which supposedly is painful and carries the usual risks from anesthetic and cutting. He imports most of the cells from Switzerland, Germany, France, and Argentina. Most are derived from sheep embryos (embryoblast, blastocyst, morula, placenta, or umbilical cord), humans (placenta or umbilical cord), cows, and horses.
In the “old” days (until 2008), commercial stem cells were "generic." They had to be injected near the amaged tissue in hopes that they would find the roblem area and stick around long enough to develop into tissue with the correct characteristics (e.g., heart tissue) so they could then assist in repairing the damage. Now commercial stem cells are pre-primed in a laboratory. Stem cells from a horse, cow, sheep, or etc. are placed in a petri dish with some heart tissue, brain tissue, soft muscle tissue, or etc., until the stem cells acquire its characteristics. When these primed stem cells are injected, they circulate through the body until they find that same type of tissue. I think of these cells as circulating in the blood stream until they find their little brother and sister cells, and then the stay put and begin proliferating. So heart stem cells circulate until they find heart tissue, eye stem cells circulate until they find eye tissue, and then they stay put and egin multiplying. (I've researched this a lot but don't pretend to understand it; I'm NOT an M.D.) I don’t get how stem cells for cancer work. Maybe they turn into cells that are part of the immune system? I need to ask Dr. Gil.
There are pre-primed commercial stem cells for bone and joint, for heart and lung, for skin, for eyes, for brain and spinal chord, etc., and for cancer. To determine which type of stem cells are needed, the medical problem doesn't matter; the problem could be kidney damage from a car accident or an infection, from kidney cancer, or from a benign kidney tumors. The type of stem cells used depends on which kind of tissue has been damaged (kidney damage = treatment with stem cells primed to become kidney tissue; eye damage = treatment with cells primed to become various components of the eyes). Therefore, lab tests are not usually required to determine what type of cells are needed. The patient just needs to know which part or parts of the body need treatment.
Stem cell injections for people with more than one medical problem and the elderly are a combination of different types of stem cells primed to become different types of tissue. Because of my age (65), Dr. Gil usually gives me the "rejuvenation" combo that regenerate all of the different organ and types of tissue. The Hollywood stars have supposedly been crossing nto Mexico for these rejuvenation and restoration injections for years, tho there are plenty of scandals about corrupt Mexican doctors at the border charging $25,000 and injecting saline solution instead of stem cell. tem cells are called "células madres," literally "mother cells" in Spanish.
Some patients just need one injection, but it seems like Dr. Gil's
most common regime consists of 5 shots in the hip, administered as one shot per day for 5 consecutive days. This is sometimes followed by a booster shot one month later. For the booster shot, Dr. Gil removes a vial of blood from the patient's arm, centrifuges it for 60 seconds to separate the blood from the plasma, and then injects the stem-cell rich plasma into the hip.
The last I heard, Dr. Gil was charging about U.S. $1,000 for stem cell treatment, which could consist of just one shot or five. He usually administers the first shot so he can answer any questions about the stem cells. ften his nurse gives he other four injections, so no appointments are required – you just have to go to his office when she is there, from about 10-5 on weekdays. I think she leaves early on Saturdays. On Sundays she is only in the office for an hour, just to give stem cell injections.
My personal interest in stem cells began after 8 bladder cancer surgeries, two rounds of chemo, and surgery for a bladder hemorrhage caused me to decide to go for life quality rather than quantity. I stopped all medical treatments and resigned myself to dying in 2 to 2 1/2 years. Two years later I knew the cancer was back, and a subsequent diagnosis by a San Miguel doctor of bladder and urethral cancer was confirmed by my Querétaro urologist, who said I only had 2 – 2 1/2 months to live. I suddenly decided I wanted quantity, not quality! I scheduled an MRI for later in the week.
That evening, I received a stem cell treatment from Dr. Gil. Four days later, when I went for the MRI, the tumors had completely disappeared. I have remained symptom-free since August, 2008.
Five years ago I tore my meniscus while on vacation and returned to San Miguel in a wheelchair. A highly respected orthopedic surgeon in Querétaro looked at my MRI and said the only solution was surgery, that stem cells wouldn’t work. I believed him but had the stem cell treatments anyway, and I began improving so quickly that I cancelled the surgery. I went from a wheelchair, to crutches, to 2 canes and a brace, to one cane and a brace, to one cane, to walking normally (no pain at all) in 2 ½ months. As a bonus, the "pain when it's going to rain" disappeared from a broken wrist I had sustained three years previously, as did my arthritis and carpal tunnel pain. Two years later I tore the other meniscus. I was in San Miguel at the time, so I immediately went for stem cell injections. I recovered completely in seven days.
Dr. Gil doesn’t want me to tell people how quickly I healed, because my rapid responses are highly unusual. He says that 85% of people require 4-6 months to heal; he tells patients not to expect results for 6 months. Some require 9 months.
I later had stem cells for a macular hole. Judging from my improved vision, the hole was healing. But then a few months later I had another eye bleed. My vision deteriorated again and didn’t improve.
A common side effect of stem cells is intense exhaustion, though mine has been a fabulous energy boost – I feel great and lose weight without changing my lifestyle, as if my metabolism had suddenly improved. Dr. Gil says this an appen but is very rare. When I had the stem cells for my macular hole, I did experience the exhaustion for a few weeks.
Many people's symptoms intensify briefly before they improve, and that can be very scary. Many ask me if their exhaustion, worsened condition, or other reaction is normal. I can't comprehend people asking me for a medical opinion. I’m a psychologist, not an M.D. And even M.D.s don't diagnose much less treat medical problems by reading an email.
A close friend had lost 40% of her pancreas during cancer surgery in the U.S. Five years later the cancer returned, but she had already lost too much of her pancreas for another surgery. We took up a collection for stem cell injections. She suffered the exhaustio, and her terribly scary symptoms worsened – we feared that our stem cell "gift" had hastened her demise. But then her symptoms subsided and gradually lessened. Three years later, she emains asymptomatic! But another neighbor who was already on his deathbed due to pancreatic cancer had stem cell treatments but died a few weeks later.
Another friend with MS walked MUCH better after stem cell injections.
Several friends with diabetes were able to reduce their insulin dramatically.
One diabetic friend was able to stop all insulin, though she also changed her diet and exercise regime.
Several friends had been told that surgery was the only solution for their back pain, but stem cells completely eliminated it.
I asked another friend to tell me about her personal experiences with stem cells. She sent me an email with this info:
I have had stem cells 3, maybe 4 times with zero negative side effects. I have scoliosis which is quite advanced which has progressed from zero to advanced due to a surfing accident I had at age 25 in Hawaii. I am now 71. I took 500 mg extra strength Tylenol eight times a day for ten years, and I went to a body cleansing clinic 14 times in my life (saving my life). Since the stem cells I now have no pain. I redo the stem cells perhaps once a year, or every 14 months. My spine is obviously not straight, even to look at it. My massage person asked me which pain pills I take! I do not take any pain pills at all.
My husband was having what I considered, serious lapses in memory. One day, in the summer when it was over 90F, he went to the store to buy chicken for our dog, who has a special diet as he has Hemangio Sarcoma (fatal cancer in dogs). Toby, our dog, has had stem cell treatment and a very special diet for his cancer. Normal dogs with Hemangio live 6 weeks. I extended his life more than 2 years when I had Dr. Gil give him stem cells. He is now 5 years and 8 months out, and no sign of cancer.
My husband left the chicken in the car he had gone to buy for Toby one day, and when I returned home I asked him where the chicken was. He had left it in the 90 degree car for over 2 hours! He went for memory stem cells as soon as I could get him an appointment. Literally, within 3 days, he didn’t forget things and he had been forgetting maybe 4 things per day (driving me nuts). For this I am very thankful.
A friend of mine has MS and has had it for 45+ years. He comes every 6 months for stem cells. One time we were walking here in San Miguel, and he was having more trouble than was believable on the cobblestones, and that was on a Saturday. He began stem cells treatment on Monday, and by Saturday he could walk with both feet and without his cane, and lift both legs!
His wife has been told she has Macular Degeneration. About 4 months after stem cell treatment her ophthalmologist told her she was 25% better, and nobody in that practice had ever gotten 1% better. Another year, another set of shots, and she is 60% better.
Dr. Gil specialized in internal medicine, but he is an eternal student. He has been attending workshops and classes during the entire 11 years I have known him, so he’s out of the office a lot. He doesn’t see patients in the hospital or have anyone on call when he’s gone, so he isn’t a primary care physician or available for medical emergencies. He recently completed a 2nd medical specialty in regenerative medicine at UNAM, a fellowship in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy in Florida, and is now working on a Ph.D. in cellular biology. I suggested he do his dissertation on my bladder cancer miracle, but he said he needs an unusual/novel case for his dissertation - curing bladder cancer via stem cells is too routine! (In the U.S. it remains a leading form of cancer, with a fatality rate of about 24%).
I have two friends who requested stem cells, but Dr. Gil said no, they needed to see a surgeon. And when I was very ill recently, I wanted another round of stem cells. He said no, They wouldn't help. I showed him my lab results, and he prescribed homeopathic and herbal remedies to lower cholesterol and enhance kidney function, and iron for anemia. So he doesn’t prescribe stem cells for everything.
A young mother who received stem cells from Dr. Gil for Grade 4 melanoma let me know that a year later that her cancer has not improved. It hasn't worsened, either. I don't know if that means the stem cells worked and halted the progression, or whether staying the same for a year is common and the stem cells didn't help at all.
In addition to Dr. Gil’s San Miguel office on Ancha de San Antonio #73, phone (415) 154-5111, he has an office in Ensenada, in northern Mexico, where he mostly sees mostly U.S. patients. He speaks English and doesn’t charge for telephone consultations. His secretary only speaks Spanish but manages to schedule telephone consults and office appointments for English-speaking patients.
Dr. Gil tends to be extremely busy these days – it's best to make an appointment several weeks in advance. He makes arrangements for foreign patients who need local housing - they can rent an apartment near his office. The cost, according to a friend, was about $5K pesos for 5 day for herself and her husband. The location isn't wonderful for tourists.
For an impressive glimpse of stem cell tissue regeneration, see
This old article (2006) on regenerating organs in the U.S. may also be of interest:
11 body parts from stem cells report: http://www.livescience.com/53470-11-lab-grown-body-parts.html
This old article (2006) on regenerating organs in the U.S. may also be of interest:
And despite the official stance of the AMA, some stem cell research continues in the U.S. with results like these:
Note that Google is NOT for serious medical research. Use Google scholar at www.scholar.google.com. Enter "stem cell treatment" “your condition." For example search for:
"stem cell treatment" "bladder cancer"
“stem cell treatment” “macular degeneration”
And when looking up treatment efficacy, be sure to check the international journals. The U.S. journals mostly contain reports on clinical trials, which always seem to conclude that stem cell treatments appear "promising" but more research is needed.
Google scholar update 04/2016: In the past Google scholar searches only turned up articles from high-quality (peer reviewed) cientific ournals. In 2015, many watered down, incredibly biased articles targeted to the general public began turning up in Google scholar searches - articles that sound like pharmaceutical industry propaganda pieces. Beware especially of the plethora of articles by WebMD.
May 2017 update: Tho I still tend to start with Google scholar when doing research, the number of commercial articles has continued to increase, and I'm finding PubMed more reliable.
While plenty of scams exist in foreign countries, stem cell treatments are routine in much of the world. The problem is finding a qualified doctor.
As a treatment for autism, see http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306974.php; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999775/
Spinal chord injury, see https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160914095610.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmost_popular+%28Most+Popular+News+--+ScienceDaily%29
"With age, somatic cells such as neurons lose their ability to maintain the quality of their protein content. Pluripotent stem cells, on the contrary, do not age and have increased mechanism to maintain the integrity of their proteins. Researchers have defined the mechanisms underlying increased protein quality control of pluripotent stem cells. Then, the researchers mimicked these mechanisms in somatic tissues of model organisms to extend lifespan and delay age-related diseases." (Sorry - I lost the reference."
Posted: 16 Mar 2017 02:42 PM PDT
Posted: 19 May 2017 12:35 PM PDT
A new device gently suctions, processes and uses a patient’s own fat tissue to provide a potential source of stem cells and growth factors to promote healing.
A new study demonstrates how electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can help promote tissue repair and relieve injury-induced pain. The findings provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how electroacupuncture stimulates the brain to facilitate the release of stem cells and adds new insight relating to the cells' healing properties.
Posted: 04 Apr 2017 09:44 AM PDT
A new method could push research into developmental brain disorders an important step forward. This is shown by a recent study in which the researchers investigated the development of a rare congenital brain defect. To do so, they converted skin cells from patients into so called induced pluripotent stem cells. From these ‘jack-of-all-trades’ cells, they generated brain organoids – small three-dimensional tissues which resemble the structure and organization of the developing human brain.
The U.S. is catching up to the rest of the world: Ability of stem cells expanded to regrow any tissue type
Posted: 06 Apr 2017 11:39 AM PDT
A new technique, which allows scientists to generate both embryonic and non-embryonic tissues from cultured stem cells, is a step toward growing donor organs and replacement tissues to combat aging and diseases.
In San Miguel, some local healers are administering plant stem cells, and stem cells under the tongue. Dr. Gil says both are bogus. friend claimed to have been helped by plant stem cells. Some research suggests that optimism might boost stem cell counts, so perhaps her anticipation of an improvement jump-started her own stem cells.
If you do see Dr. Gil for a consultation, tell him that Linda Sonna referred you. And if you have stem cell treatments, please let me know what happens – how you react after the injections, how you progress, etc. BUT…I’m a psychologist, not an M.D.! Contact Dr. Gil or see another physician if you or yours has any type of medical concern, issue, symptom, or problem before, during, or after stem cell treatments. If you ask my advice about whether stem cells might work for you, whether your progress is normal, etc., here is my one and only answer: “I don’t know! I can’t and won’t even guess!”
Best wishes for your health!
Linda Sonna, Ph.D.