Frequently Asked Questions

Travel Questions

Do I need a visa to enter Guatemala?

Citizens from the United States, Canada and Europe do not need a visa to enter Guatemala and are able to stay 90 days before an extended tourist visa is required.  Click here to check visa requirements for your country.

Common Questions

What is regenerative medicine?

Regenerative Medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to damage, or congenital defects. This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves. (Wikipedia)

What are the tools of regenerative medicine?

Stem cell therapy is a rapidly evolving and exciting area of regenerative medicine that has shown considerable promise in treating many degenerative conditions.  Additionally, we use various naturopathic medicines and hormones to limit diseases and help the body repair itself.

What is a stem cell?

Stem cells are cells in the body that have a remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types and tissues. In many tissues, stem cells serve as a type of internal repair system, dividing without limit to replenish and repair other cells in the body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

There are two important characteristics that differentiate stem cells from other types of cells in the body. First, they are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues. In other organs, however, such as the pancreas and the heart, stem cells only divide under special conditions.

What diseases and conditions can be treated?

Stem cells can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions and diseases.  The best way to find out whether or not your particular condition is able to be treated is to contact us and have one of our specialists evaluate you and discuss whether or not you may be a potential candidate for stem cell therapy.

You can contact us at cs@biohuman.com.gt or through the following link: http://www.biohuman.com.gt/contact-us/

Is our procedure FDA-approved?

NO.  The FDA has guidelines about treatment and manipulation of a patient’s own tissues.  Our practice existed in the United States and we followed FDA guidelines, but have found that the procedure and guidelines approved by the FDA extremely limit stem cell treatments.  Therefore, we relocated to Guatemala in order to have the flexiblity to give treatments that are more likely to be effective.

We currently follow European Union Directives and Guidelines and Best Practices.

Does BioHuman use any embryonic stem cells?

No. Only adult mesenchymal stem cells are used. Mesenchymal stem cells are capable of forming bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, ligaments, blood vessels, and certain organs. Embryonic stem cells are associated with ethical considerations and limitations.

How are stem cells collected?

There are several methods to collect stem cells, however the frontmost technique we use and recomend is pheriperal blood extraction. The sample is obtained by recollecting blood of a vein located in the anterior part between the forearm and the arm or the back at the hand.

Further information can be read here: http://www.biohuman.com.gt/autogous-stem-cells/collection-of-stem-cells/

Why does BioHuman prefer to use stem cells from pheriperal blood compared to bone marrow, body fat or umbilical cord?

Recent advances in stem cell science have made it possible to obtain high numbers of very excellent quality multi-potent (able to form numerous other tissues) cells from a person’s own liposuction fat. There are 500 times more mesenchymal stem cells in 1 gram of fat than there are in 1 gram of bone marrow for example. Similar ratio is found for pheriperal blood samples, therefore the process is more timely, less painful, more cost-effective and treatment-effective for the patient.

Extracting stem cells from bone marrow tends to be a more painful process and yields approximately 5,000 – 60,000 cells that are then cultured over several days to perhaps a few million cells prior implantation. This procedure is invasive and poorly cost-effective.

Alternatively the use of umbilical cord posses a risk of propper management of the sample, and the transplant is an heterologous one. The introduction of foreign factors posses a health risk for some patients compared to autologous transplants, and requires easy access to the umbilical cord samples. Ultimately the yield of umbilical cord samples is poor, 30-40% success ratio compared to 95-100% with other extraction methods.

How are the stem cells administered?

Considering the ailment and type of treatment, there are three main applications:

  1. Intra-dermal for stetic uses
  2. Intra-venous for systemic diseases and therapies
  3. Intra-articular for orthopedic applications

The possible procedures are described as follows:

Intravenous (IV)

Intravenous application is one of the safest and simplest methods to administer stem cells throughout the body. Anesthesia is not required, but can be administered if necessary depending on the patient. The administration of an IV application normally takes about 30 minutes.

Intrathecal (Lumbar Puncture)

Commonly, intrathecal administration is ideal for most neurological conditions such as autism. With a lumbar puncture, stem cells are injected directly into the spinal canal through the lower vertebrae under local anesthesia and performed by a licensed and experienced anesthesiologist. Lumbar punctures are used for neurological conditions because the stem cells are injected into the spinal fluid which passes through the blood-brain barrier. This enables the cells to reach the spinal cord and the brain. This procedure normally takes about 30 minutes.

Intranasal Aspiration

A combination of Intrathecal and intranasal methods are typically used and ideal for patients with neurological disorders. Stem cells are administered through the nose using an aspirator nozzle to spray the cells in the nose. The nasal cavity has two primary functions, olfaction (sense of smell) and warming, humidifying and filtering air we breath. Inside the nasal cavities are turbinates, which are highly vascular and convoluted passageways lined with a warm, moist mucosal layer. These highly vascular turbinates allow for rapid absorption into the bloodstream because the capillaries within the turbinates are specifically designed to allow the rapid shift of fluids acorss capillary membranes. Additionally, the olfactory tissues relay sense of smell signals directly to the central nervous system. Olfactory mucosa is on the superior aspect of the nasal cavity and actually extends through the skulls cribform plate and into the cranial cavity, therefore passing the blood brain barrier, which is what is believed to aid in the reparation of cells for patients with neurological disorders or ailments.

Intra-articular (into the joint)

Intra-articular injections are commonly used for arthritis patients and those looking to repair ligaments and tendons. The stem cells are injected directly into the affected joint by a licensed physicia and is a safe procedure that does not require anesthesia.

What does the cost of the procedure include?

Because of recent innovations in technology and our office being located in Guatemala, BioHuman is able to provide outpatient stem cell treatment at a fraction of the cost of that seen in many overseas and US clinics. The fee covers cell harvesting, cell preparation, and stem cell deployment, and accommodations which include the transport from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the clinic.

Can I expect to see major improvements after stem cell treatments?

We have found different degrees of varying success depending on the type of conditions treated.  Results may be instant or take months to see results.  For instance, if the purpose of the treatment is to regenerate the cartilage in a joint, one may not see results until several months after treatment.

Some patients may not experience significant improvement and others may see dramatic regeneration of damaged tissue or resolution of disease.

Where can I get more information of stem cell treatments?

A good resource is the International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS). Stem Cells

How many injections are required for success?

Most patients, especially those with orthopedic conditions, require only one deployment. Certain types of degenerative conditions, particularly auto-immune disease, may respond best to a series of stem cell deployments. The number and necessity of any additional treatments would be decided on a case by case basis. Financial consideration is given in these instances.

What types of specialties are represented at BioHuman?

BioHuman specializes in blood tissue-derived autologous stem cell isolation, expansion, and differentiation. These processes can be applied to most anti-aging, cosmetic, and disease conditions and therefore customized, respectively.

How does your procedure differ from the FDA approved procedure?

There is no such FDA-approved procedure for stem cell therapy. However in the USA, there are FDA guidelines for what can and cannot be done with stem cells as the practice of medicine. First, the stem cells must be solely autologous (from the patient). Second, the stem cells must undergo less than minimal manipulation (hence, the stem cells can only be isolated cannot be expanded or differentiated to target a specific tissue). Third, the treatment must take place within the same treatment session (on the same day of stem cell harvesting).

How do adult stem cells heal the body?

Adult stem cells have the inherent ability to regenerate damaged tissue. The stem cells are differentiated to display specific receptors for a specific tissue. Furthermore, damaged tissue secretes a class of substances called cytokines. These chemical messengers are specific for the particular damaged tissue and therefore indicate to the stem cells where the damage is located and where regeneration is required.

Does Biohuman use stem cells from any other animal source or person?

Biohuman believes in the body’s ability to heal itself. We do not use any other source of stem cells other than the patient her/himself. That is, autologous. This minimizes the risk of infections, contaminations, rejection, and the use of damaging immunosuppressive drugs.

Some stem cell treatment centers make extraordinary claims about their success in the treatment of various problems. Why doesn’t Biohuman?

Biohuman is the pioneer of expanded and differentiated autologous stem cell treatment in Central America and is the first and only licensed and certified laboratory to perform these processes and procedures. We have well-seasoned and experienced staff who bring success stories.

How long does it take to see improvement?

The timeframe for improvement varies from patient to patient and from condition to condition. We have seen patients improving within days, to weeks, to months. We cannot predict when you will respond to your particular treatment, as this is influenced by the lifestyle, environment and health condition before, during and after the treatment.

Is everyone a candidate for stem cell treatment?

Not everyone is a candidate for adult mesenchymal stem cell therapies. Various considerations are made in order to deduce candidacy and the patient must undergo a rigorous approval process.

How do you determine if a patient is eligible for treatment?

Various factors are considered in determining stem cell treatment eligibility. The patient’s disease condition, degree of debilitation, age, medications, unrelated ailments, are among those. Each prospective patient is individually assessed and a complementary personal one-on-one consultation with the treating physician is conducted prior to approval.

What are some diseases that BioHuman is not treating at this time?

Most cancer patients and patients that are undergoing or just recently received chemiotherapy, radiotherapy or antibiotic therapies. A screening process must be met prior to treatment.

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General concepts Biohuman Guatemala