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Stem Cell Therapy Cost (2023 Update)

This article explains the costs associated with different stem cell treatments, what will impact the price, and why stem cell therapy may be a good alternative to traditional medications.

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Stem Cell Therapy Cost (2023 Update)

Louis A. Cona, MD
Updated on
Dec 13, 2023

This article explains the costs associated with different stem cell treatments, what will impact the price, and why stem cell therapy may be a good alternative to traditional medications.

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This article explores the costs, factors, and explanations associated with stem cell treatments and therapies in various parts of the world, including the U.S., Mexico, Panama, and the Cayman Islands.

It also delves into the specifics of what influences stem cell therapy costs, such as the type and quality of stem cells, location of the Laboratory, source of stem cells and others.

Stem Cell Therapy Cost

The cost of stem cell therapy can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the type of stem cells administered, the number of cells, the quality of the cells, the location of the laboratory, and the source of the stem cells. On average, stem cell therapy costs can range anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000.

For specific treatments, a single stem cell injection costs $4,000, with additional joints or injuries treated during the same session costing as little as $800 each (if using PRP). In 2023, the most common price for stem cell therapy using an expanded cell product is between $15,000 and $30,000.

For orthopedic conditions, the cost of stem cell therapy is typically lower as the amount of cells or dosage may be lower, averaging between $5,000 and $8,000. These conditions include knee osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, arthritis, and cartilage defects.

However, for expanded cell therapy treatments for autoimmune, degenerative or inflammatory conditions, the cost of stem cell therapy starts around $20,000 and can go higher. It is important to note that these prices are typically out-of-pocket costs paid by the patient, as most insurance companies do not cover them, considering them experimental and not the standard of care.

How much does stem cell treatment cost?

Stem cell therapy costs can range anywhere from $5000-$50,000 USD. Treatment cost will vary dramatically depending on a variety of different factors.

Stem cell therapy cost can be influenced by:

  1. The type of stem cells administered
  2. How many cells are administered
  3. The quality of the cells (are the ethically sourced, viable & regulated?)
  4. Where the laboratory is located (for cell expansion)
  5. The source of stem cells (umbilical cord tissue, adipose tissue, bone marrow, etc.)

It is also important to note that the cost of stem cell therapy will vary depending on the type of treatment needed. The cost of a site injection for an orthopedic condition will be significantly different than an intravenous treatment for an autoimmune condition.

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Average Cost of Stem Cell Therapy

The average stem cell therapy cost can range anywhere between $5000 - $50,000. Patients must do their research and ask as many questions as they can before financially committing to treatment. Make sure to know how many cells you are getting, where those cells come from, if they are viable, is the clinic/lab is regulated, and ask for as detailed info to be provided as possible.

When considering a potentially life-changing treatment, prospective patients should be weighing these other important factors, in addition to cost, when determining the best location for experimental procedures.

The cost of stem cell therapy at DVC Stem

DVC Stem is an innovative stem cell therapy clinic in the Cayman Islands. The clinic’s Medical Director, Dr. Cona, is a pioneer in regenerative cell therapy, providing the first stem cell treatments in the Cayman Islands more than a decade ago.

He continues to research alternative therapies for various medical conditions, and with IRB certified clinical trials, has treated local and international patients for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Chronic Low Grade Inflammation (which is part of the overall Aging Process), and many other degenerative conditions. DVC Stem's IRB-approved mesenchymal stem cell protocol is currently priced at $25,000 USD.

The cost of stem cell therapy
The cost of stem cell therapy infographic

Stem cell umbilical cord cost

The cost of private cord blood banking ranges from $300 to $2,300 for collection, processing and initial storage, with additional annual storage fees after that. Stem cell therapy can costs can range anywhere from $5000-$50,000 USD, with the average cost of treatment at DVC Stem costs $25,000 USD.

How does the stem cell clinic influence the cost of treatment?

There are several factors that can influence the cost of treatment at a stem cell clinic, including:

  1. The type of stem cells being used: Adult stem cells are generally less expensive to obtain and process than embryonic stem cells.
  2. The specific condition being treated: Some conditions may require more complex or expensive treatments than others.
  3. The location of the clinic: Stem cell clinics located in major cities or in areas with high demand for stem cell therapies may charge higher prices.
  4. The reputation and experience of the medical team: Clinics with a track record of successful treatments and highly qualified medical professionals may charge higher fees.
  5. The stem cell product: higher quality stem cell product will cost more to produce. It is important to note that cell quality directly correlates with treatment safety and efficacy.
  6. Regulation: Adhering to regulations imposed by the governing country will impact the cost of treatment - it will also promote treatment safety and effectiveness.

It is important for patients to carefully research the costs of treatment at different stem cell clinics and to consider all of these factors when making a decision about where to receive treatment.

How much does stem cell therapy cost?

Stem cell therapies have become very popular in recent years, as people are seeking the latest alternative treatments for their many conditions. More and more types of therapies are being introduced every day, and people around the world are turning to them and rejecting traditional regimens of drugs and hospital visits. However, despite the large surge in demand for stem cell therapies, they still remain very expensive to pursue. Even simple joint injections can cost nearly $5000 and more advanced treatments can rise in cost up to $100,000 depending on the condition.

Stem cell therapy cost for knees or a degenerative condition such as Crohn's Disease may differ from stem cell therapy cost for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The area and issue being treated should generally influence the cost of the associated treatment because different cell types, cell counts and treatment protocols will be needed. For example, an effective stem cell therapy cost for MS will be much different than the cost of a site injection for localized pain.

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The Importance of Regulation in Ensuring Safety and Impact on Treatment Cost for Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapies

Regulation is vital in ensuring the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatments. It upholds high standards in production, application, and monitoring of these therapies. Without it, the risk of suboptimal quality and potential adverse effects increases, which could diminish therapeutic benefits for patients.

  • Key Aspects of MSC Regulation:
  • Establishing guidelines for MSC isolation, expansion, and characterization.
  • Ensuring consistency, viability, and contamination-free cells in therapies.
  • Developing clinical trial protocols to assess safety and effectiveness in various medical conditions.
  • Role of Regulatory Agencies:
  • Agencies like the FDA mandate rigorous testing for new treatments.
  • Approval is required before widespread use of MSC-based therapies.

Regulatory Challenges and Impact on Treatment Costs

While regulation is crucial for MSC treatment safety, it also contributes to increased costs. The rigorous testing and validation, adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and the need for sterile, high-quality production facilities add significant expenses.

  • Factors Contributing to Increased Costs:
  • Time-consuming and expensive clinical trials with extensive participant involvement.
  • Maintenance of GMP compliant facilities for MSC production.
  • Impact on Treatment Availability:
  • Lengthy regulatory approval processes can delay treatment availability to patients.

Balancing Safety and Cost in MSC Therapies

Despite the challenges, the regulatory framework is essential for maintaining the integrity of MSC therapies. The increased costs are an investment in the treatment's long-term success, building trust among patients, healthcare providers, and stakeholders in regenerative medicine.

  • Benefits of a Strong Regulatory Framework:
  • Ensures patient safety and high-quality care.
  • Contributes to the long-term success and trustworthiness of MSC treatments.

COVID-19 stem cell treatment cost

DVC Stem offers a mesenchymal stem cell treatment protocol aimed at post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, the cost of this treatment is $25,000 USD. Patients can expect fewer long term complications, improved recovery time, a reduction in persistent COVID-19 related symptoms & an overall decrease in inflammation throughout the body.

The type of stem cells being administered

The type of stem cells being administered or regenerative therapy utilized plays a huge role in stem cell therapy costs. There are a few different types of cells, these can be mainly broken down into a few categories:

  1. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections
  2. Birth tissues (umbilical cord blood or amniotic fluid)
  3. Adipose (fat) tissue or bone marrow
  4. Allogenic culture-expanded stem cell procedure (umbilical cord tissue)

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is typically administered via site injections directly into the affected area. This can be performed on the same day and requires no cell expansion, the same is true for umbilical cord blood.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cells are distinct entities with different origins and functions, although both have been widely used in regenerative medicine. PRP is a concentrated solution derived from a patient's own blood, containing a high concentration of platelets, which are small, anucleate cell fragments that play a crucial role in blood clotting and wound healing. PRP is obtained by centrifuging a blood sample to separate the different blood components, allowing for the collection of a platelet-rich layer. The primary function of PRP is to release growth factors and cytokines that promote tissue repair, angiogenesis, and inflammation modulation. PRP has been used in various medical fields, including orthopedics, sports medicine, and dentistry, for its potential to accelerate healing and tissue regeneration.

Birth Tissues

Allogenic stem cell therapy consists of cells extracted from cord tissue, or “Wharton’s Jelly”. Umbilical cord tissue can have some of the most powerful, primal mesenchymal stem cells that can be found.  Studies have shown that stem cells, at the point of birth are at their peak of potency, unaffected by the aging process or disease. However the administration of culturally expanded cells in the United States is largely not authorized according to FDA sections 351 and 361. Stem cell therapy cost for culturally expanded cells ranges from USD 15,000 - USD 45,000. 

Adipose Tissue (Fat Derived Stem Cells)

Adipose (fat) stem cell procedures can also be performed the same day because they do not require cell expansion. Adipose (fat) and bone marrow stem cell treatments can be quite invasive because they require the cells to be extracted from the patient, which requires surgery.

These treatments can range from $4000 - $8,000 in the United States. Adipose (fat) and Bone Marrow stem cell treatments can be effective for certain orthopedic conditions, but studies have shown that they are not a viable treatment option for chronic widespread inflammation or autoimmune conditions due to a variety of factors including lower cell count and potency. This is what makes expanded cord tissue-derived stem cells so revolutionary.

The cost can influence stem cell therapy success rate

Increased costs and regulation can potentially increase the success rate of stem cell therapy in a few different ways.

First, increased costs may be necessary to fund research and development efforts aimed at improving the safety and effectiveness of stem cell therapies. This could involve investing in new technologies or conducting clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of different treatments.

Second, increased regulation may help to ensure that stem cell therapies are developed and administered in a safe and ethical manner. For example, stricter regulations may be put in place to ensure that stem cells are obtained and processed in a way that minimizes the risk of contamination or other issues. This could help to increase the overall safety and reliability of stem cell treatments.

Overall, it is important to strike a balance between the need for increased funding and regulation to help improve the success rate of stem cell therapies, and the need to ensure that these treatments are accessible and affordable for patients.

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The success rate at DVC Stem

We are currently still collecting long-term data and do not have any published results to share specifically related to our IRB-approved clinical study. However, preliminary data that has been collected over the past 4.5 years has been exciting.

Patient reported results have since shown that ~85% of our total patient population have noted a sustained improvement in their condition within 3 months of treatment. This data is measured via a follow-up vitality questionnaire that is compared to baseline results collected within 3 months prior to treatment in conjunction with unique inflammatory marker testing.

More specifically, the current average improvements for our  patients 3 months after treatment are as follows:

  • 75% increase in Stamina
  • 53.75% increase in Libido
  • 51.40% increase in Energy Levels
  • 43.97% increase in Balance
  • 28% increase in Coordination
  • 23.19% increase in Strength
  • 21% increase in Vision

Average improvements concerning cognitive function 12 months after treatment are as follows:

  • 19.84% improvement in Memory
  • 44% improvement in Ability to Concentrate
  • 31.94% improvement in Decision Making
  • 12.5% increase in Quality of Sleep

So why is stem cell therapy so expensive?

Stem cell treatments are specialized and not widely adopted in mainstream healthcare, leading to high costs. These treatments are not typically covered by insurance and face limitations due to outdated U.S. laws.

This results in scarce availability of sources for stem cells, labs equipped for processing, and reputable clinics, most of which are located outside the U.S. This situation parallels the limited availability and high production costs seen with luxury items.

Factors Influencing Stem Cell Treatment Costs

  • Limited sources for stem cells and equipped labs.
  • Scarcity of reputable clinics, primarily outside the U.S.
  • Acquisition of stem cells involves costs from hospitals or through extraction procedures.
  • Labs specialize in stem cell expansion under FDA regulations, requiring skilled staff.
  • Cryo-storage and overnight global shipping of cells add to expenses.
  • Clinic staffing includes doctors, nurses, and support staff.
  • Costs are incurred in marketing, logistics, and medical care.
  • Each stage of the process, from acquisition to patient treatment, involves significant costs.

These aspects underline the specialized nature of stem cell therapy and the extensive resources and expenses associated with it.

Does stem cell therapy cost vary in different countries?

Stem cell therapy costs vary significantly, influenced by factors like the lab's location, stem cell count in the treatment, and regulatory requirements. For instance, the cost of stem cell therapy in Mexico differs from that in Panama or Grand Cayman.

Key Factors Affecting Stem Cell Therapy Pricing

  • Source and Quality of Stem Cells: Labs' geographical location and quality standards, total count of stem cells used in the treatment.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The extent of regulations imposed by governing bodies, requirements like certifications, government inspections, and treatment protocol reviews.

Example of DVC Stem in Grand Cayman

  • DVC Stem is known for its high-quality stem cell treatment, sourcing mesenchymal stem cells from a cGMP, FDA compliant lab in the USA.
  • The clinic adheres to strict regulations by both the US and Cayman Islands governments.
  • This compliance ensures patient safety and high-quality cell products but increases production and administration costs.

Stem Cell Therapy in the United States

  • In the U.S., clinics are legally restricted from administering expanded cell products.
  • For local clinic options, a simple Google search for "stem cells near me" can provide information.

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Stem cell treatment in Mexico

Mexico has become a popular destination for stem cell therapy, with many clinics offering treatment for a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). MS stem cell treatment in Mexico has gained attention as a potential alternative to traditional therapies, as it may help to reduce inflammation and improve function in patients with this chronic neurological condition.

Stem cell therapy in Mexico is also being explored as a treatment option for other conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injuries. It is important to note that while stem cell therapy in Mexico may offer promising results, it is important to do your research and carefully evaluate the credentials and reputation of any stem cell clinic before undergoing treatment. It is also essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if stem cell therapy is an appropriate treatment option for your specific condition.

Who is performing the procedure?

Stem cell therapy cost is linked to whoever performs the treatment. There are a few different types of medical providers that may have the ability to inject the cells.

  1. Nurse Practitioners & Physicians Assistants
  2. Physician Specialists (or a Medical Director)

Unfortunately, there is not always a positive correlation when it comes to comparing stem cell therapy cost with the level of training. When looking for a reputable clinic it is important to make sure that the treatment will be performed by a specialized physician.

For example, DVC Stem was founded by Dr. Louis A. Cona, he is the Medical Director of the facility and performs every single treatment with the help of a Registered Nurse (RN). Dr. Cona has over 15 years of experience in the field of Regenerative Medicine.

Are the cells ethically sourced, viable and regulated?

Stem cell therapy cost can also be associated with the quality of the cells being administered. How the cells are sourced can play a key role in stem cell therapy cost. For example regulations in Mexico and South America are much more lenient than those in the United States, allowing for cells to be acquired at a cheaper cost. However, there is a tradeoff, with less regulation it becomes tough to ensure the safety and viability of the cells.  For example stem cell therapy cost in Tijuana will be different from other places due to differences in regulation, cell manufacturing quality and cost of labour.

The American Association of Tissue Banks was created for this exact purpose. To regulate donated tissues and heavily screen them for infection and disease. DVC Stem uses umbilical cord tissue-derived cells from their partner lab who only sources their tissue from AATB certified suppliers of full term, human cord tissue.

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How much do stem cell injections cost?

These treatments can range from $4000 - $8,000 in the United States. Adipose (fat) and Bone Marrow stem cell treatments can be effective for certain orthopedic conditions, but studies have shown that they are not a viable treatment option for chronic widespread inflammation or autoimmune conditions due to a variety of factors including lower cell count and potency.

This is what makes expanded cord tissue-derived stem cells so revolutionary. Infinity stem cell therapy may also provide data into the costs of stem cell therapy in the European market. A simple google search "the cost of stem cell injections near me" will usually showcase local clinics and the costs associated with treatment.

Allogenic stem cell therapy consists of cells extracted from cord tissue, or “Wharton’s Jelly”. Umbilical cord tissue can have some of the most powerful, primal mesenchymal stem cells that can be found.  Studies have shown that stem cells, at the point of birth are at their peak of potency, unaffected by the aging process or disease. However the administration of culturally expanded cells in the United States is largely not authorized according to FDA sections 351 and 361. Stem cell therapy cost for culturally expanded cells ranges from USD 15,000 - USD 45,000.

MS Patient at DVC Stem during treatment
Multiple Sclerosis Patient at DVC Stem during treatment.

How long do stem cell injections last?

This can be influenced by a variety of factors. To make things simple at DVC Stem, our stem cell clinic in Grand Cayman, we inject over 300 million mesenchymal stem cells intravenously (IV). Currently DVC Stem's treatment protocol does not call for a specific re-treatment period. If patients are happy with the results, no other treatment is necessary. We do have patients return to us on an annual basis voluntarily to maintain sustained benefit.

Does Medicare cover stem cell therapy?

Medicare also does not cover stem cell therapy in the United States or internationally. According to Medicare "Due to the experimental nature of most stem cell therapies, coverage through Medicare insurance for treatment with stem cell therapy is limited."

Legal Environment

Due to the nature of the laws in place, there are no forms of government assistance or incentives for any of these companies, unlike large drug companies. The cost of healthcare in the US is astronomical, but that is still with the large support structure in place for these healthcare companies. With no such support, the stem cell industry is left to provide treatment to patients, which incur most of the cost. It may be difficult to find a reputable stem cell therapy near me due to these limitations in the United States.

Without coverage by most major insurance providers, the only option for patients is either to pay for treatment outright, fundraise for their treatment, or use forms of financing to fund themselves. In many ways, stem cell therapies are not priced differently than many major drugs and treatments, but patients do not always see the cost when working through their insurance.

Stem cell therapy then becomes a personal choice. It is often sought after by patients that have had little success with conventional therapies, and wish to try an alternative. Stem cell medicine is still an emerging field and offers hope to many people to overcome their conditions.

Unfortunately, until stem cell medicine is more accepted into the mainstream and the laws are changed to encourage the field to develop, it will remain a highly specialized niche in healthcare. For this reason, treatment costs are not likely to change anytime soon. The best an inquiring patient can do is find a reputable clinic that provides treatments using the highest quality stem cells available to ensure they receive the best results possible.

The Cost Challenges of Exosome-based Therapies

Exosome-based therapies, while promising, currently face several challenges related to their cost. The manufacturing process for producing clinical-grade exosomes involves multiple steps, including cell culture, exosome isolation, purification, and characterization. Each of these steps requires specialized equipment, reagents, and expertise, contributing to the overall cost of producing exosomes.

Additionally, standardization and quality control measures need to be implemented to ensure the safety and efficacy of exosome products, further adding to the expenses. As a result, exosome therapies can be quite costly for patients and healthcare systems. However, as research and development in the field of exosome therapeutics continue to progress, it is expected that improvements in production methods, scalability, and regulatory frameworks will help to reduce the costs associated with exosome-based treatments, making them more accessible to a wider patient population.

Best stem cell clinic in the world

DVC Stem is a facility that prioritizes both safety and efficacy in their treatments. With an IRB-approved treatment protocol, patients can trust that the treatments have undergone thorough review by an independent ethics committee to ensure their safety and rights.

DVC Stem's clinical study, "The Effects of Cord Tissue Derived MSCs on the Treatment of Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation," is registered with the government of the Cayman Islands, providing an additional level of oversight and transparency.

The clinic's stem cells are ethically sourced from AATB-certified, US-donated, full-term human umbilical cords and processed in an award-winning, FDA registered, cGMP compliant, ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified medical laboratory. The cells are also tested to ISCT standards for viability to ensure they meet minimum quality requirements multiple times before treatment.

The treatment protocol includes a two-day period of intravenous transplant of 300 million culturally expanded human umbilical cord tissue-derived adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and a variety of therapies designed to enhance stem cell activation and potency, such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, and lymphatic massage. The procedure is minimally invasive and has minimal downtime. All these factors make DVC Stem the best stem cell clinic in the world, offering a safe, effective and well-rounded treatment protocol with the oversight of government and independent agencies and use of high-quality stem cells.

Why choose DVC Stem for stem cell therapy?

DVC Stem is a stem cell therapy pioneer, offering stem cell therapies for years and has become a cornerstone of the medical tourism industry. Located in the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman in the Western Caribbean, we offer patients a nearby alternative to traveling long distances and to less ideal locations.

Our protocols are IRB approved, and our cells come from regulated, U.S. based, FDA compliant laboratories. We seek to offer the highest quality products, the latest available treatments for a variety of conditions, all combined with a world-class setting and service.

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