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Stem Cells

National Spine Care | Downtown Calgary Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cells are the Future and They Are In You Right Now!

Stem cells may hold a key to improving and curing many conditions such as arthritis in joints and degeneration of discs in the spine.


The future is clearly in stem cells, not just cortisone or surgery.

Our goal at National Spine Care and Sports Medicine is to share the right information about stem cells to keep our patients safe and get them out of pain.

To be clear, the stem cells used in bone and joint conditions are ONLY taken from YOU and injected back INTO YOU (except in very uncommon research trials).  There are no stem cells from any other person or other tissue that are used.

Your own stem cells are taken from you and put back in a highly concentrated solution back into you.

National Spine Care | Downtown Calgary Stem Cell Therapy

How does stem cell therapy work?

Dr. Frank Johnson is a sports medicine physician, Board Certified in 2010 in the US.  He trained in the great state of Texas and Colorado and is one of the few doctors in Alberta who has been trained to deliver these stem cell treatments.

He is also one of a growing number of doctors who offer their patients the treatment that was a precursor to stem cells, called Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (PRP) injections.

This procedure takes cells not from your bone marrow, but from a vein in your arm.

5-10mL of your own blood is taken, spun in a rotary centrifuge, which then removes the red blood cells and leaves a straw-coloured fluid called plasma.

You may have heard of people donating “plasma” as opposed to “blood”.  This plasma is rich in cells that promote tissue repair, specifically called “platelets”.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been researched for nearly 40 years and has a very good track record in providing extended pain relief in arthritis in knees and hips.

It has been extensively researched in painful tendon problems such as tendonitis, one example of which is tennis elbow.

While doctors are waiting for regulatory agencies to offer concrete guidance on stem cells, there are many doctors who are offering these PRP treatments to their patients who don’t want to wait any longer.

These PRP treatments are also substantially cheaper to patients that stem cells treatments, costing less than $800 instead of upwards of$ 3000-7000 for the stem cell procedures.

Most importantly there are many people who respond so well to PRP treatments that they choose NOT to try stem cell treatments, which are much more invasive and expensive.


As of late 2016, there is no clear pathway in the jurisdiction of Alberta for doctors to deliver stem cell treatments without first clearing significant administrative and safety hurdles.

Right now, however, Dr. Johnson can help you get the answers you are looking for.

Most patients who consult with Dr. Johnson about stem cells ask many fundamental questions.

The top 10 most Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do these procedures really work?
  2. Where do the stem cells come from?
  3. Do they fix the problem or just mask the pain?
  4. Do the effects wear off over time?
  5. Are they truly safe?
  6. How do I know if they will help me?
  7. How much do these procedures cost?
  8. Does Alberta Health Care cover these treatments?
  9. Does my Group Benefits / Employer Benefits Insurance cover these treatments?
  10. If Stem cells are not right for me, what other treatments besides cortisone (steroid) or painkillers are available?

If stem cell therapy may be right for now, Dr. Johnson can arrange a consultation and/or treatment for you with any number of qualified physicians with whom he has trained under or worked with in the past.

Those consultations and treatments can happen with his network of colleagues in BC, Toronto, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and many other states where these therapies have been practiced for many years.


Need Some More Info on Platelet Rich Plasma and Stem Cells for Bone and Joint Pain?

Platelet Rich Plasma from Your Own Veins

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has a good infographic and information page on PRP.

Duke University in North Carolina has put together a good seminar on the use of PRP.

The Washington Post in 2014 published a good, balanced article pointing out that there is no treatment that works for everyone.  Just like with surgery or stem cells, there are some conditions which do better than others and some people that do better than other.

Stem Cells from Your Own Bone Marrow

Scientific American has produced a helpful video showing one of the many types of procedures possible.

Stem Cell Arts, a rehabilitation clinic near Washington, DC, has been doing advanced stem cell and PRP treatments for years.

Dr. Mayo Friedlis talks about the difference between regenerating tissue with Stem Cells vs simply reducing pain with steroids.

The Mayo Clinic satellite campus in Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the leaders in the USA at delivering these treatments.  They have compiled some very helpful information on their website.

And their orthopedic surgeon leading clinic trials into using people’s own bone marrow stem cells (Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate), Dr. Shane Shapiro, discusses his work in this video.

The Centeno-Schulz Clinic just outside Denver, Coloardo, is a world leader in performing complicated stem cells procedures they have called Regenexx, some of which are permitted in the USA, and some of which have to be performed outside the USA for regulatory reasons.   They have also taken the discussion to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), trying to get the FDA to clarifying what the future regulations should be.

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