A new medical model is developing in Manhattan, one that looks to treat everything from aches and pains to broken bones to the common cold. For age fighters, it will target wrinkles, collagen loss and age spots, but with a twist. The difference? This center takes a regenerative medical approach to healing, and includes stem cell therapy and a patented version of Stromal Vascular Fraction with every treatment.
ReGen Medical and Cell Therapy Facility, located on 460 Park Avenue, is the creation of Dr. Steven Victor, and for the purposes of this story ReGen’s beauty aspect will mainly be explored. Dr. Victor, a certified dermatologist, is no stranger to the beauty industry. In 2008 he launched a high-end derm line, which at one point was sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and on ShopNBC. He has also worked on product development for several beauty brands, including L’Oréal, Bath & Body Works and Clinique. When the economy bottomed out, he was in the midst of re-pricing and finding different distributors for his product line, Steven Victor MD, but the stem cell business began to blossom. And, as Dr. Victor said, “You can’t do everything.”
With an eye on stem cell research, several years ago Dr. Victor began refocusing his dermatology practice into one that was all health and wellness encompassing, developing an entire regenerative medicine program with skin care woven in, featuring “some extra new twists and turns.”
“It’s about getting the right people, the right doctors, the right format, raising money,” Dr. Victor said of his still-in-development medical center, which has six employees for two operating rooms, seven treatment rooms and a minor surgical procedure room.
Yes, raising money will help fuel the center’s growth. Recently Dr. Victor met with Dinosaur Capital to raise money to take the company into 2015 and beyond.
Most interesting is that Dr. Victor looks to take his regenerative medical model outside of the U.S. to wealthy countries with residents open to next-level science, such as Abu Dhabi, and to urban U.S. cities with a large influx of foreign visitors, such as Ft. Lauderdale.
While Dr. Victor said he hasn’t seen anything like ReGen inside the U.S., he points to a facility in Korea, called Chaum, that he said is very impressive.
“They have everything we are building except the stem cell therapy, which I have patented.”
Dr. Victor’s regenerative cosmetic concept is to use one’s own body cells to make a given therapy treatment more effective. According to Dr. Victor, stem cells and growth factors help make skin thicker, tighter and reduce the signs of aging.
For example, the ReGen Center offers the typical anti-aging treatments, such as Botox, Juvederm and chemical peels, but combines them with stem cell and growth factor therapy for enhanced results taken from a client’s blood.
So, for the client going in for Botox, ReGen draws blood, separates out the stem cells and tissue growth factors using a special centrifuge (which takes about 7 minutes) and then administers both the Botox and the stem cells into the traditional target sites, as well as to the neck, chest and hands, depending on the signs of aging. The same protocol is followed for those seeking Juvederm, laser therapy and volume augmentations services.
“They are the best healers in your body. These cells are locked up in your body and they are fighting aging and diseases but when you release them and concentrate them they do great things,” said Dr. Victor.
ReGen can also take a commercial skin care product and combine it with a client’s growth factors.
“Your creams can contain your own growth factors. Customizable beauty products,” said Dr. Victor.
Unique to ReGen is its intravenous therapy with Stromal Vascular Fraction, a process that extracts two to three ounces of fat from the abdomen or thigh region under local anesthesia, which is then placed in a sterile container and processed in a cellular lab Class 100 isolator hood for complete sterility, a process which Dr. Victor has patented for use in the U.S.
This process is different from other stem cell treatments as Dr. Victor does not alter or add anything to the cells being used. The lab is designed to be FDA cGTP (Good Tissue Practices) compliant.
In Dr. Victor’s words SVF “makes you feel 20 years younger with increased energy, alertness, libido and less stiffness.” Stromal Vascular Fraction can be used along with fat augmentation treatments, and any other anti-aging treatment the center offers, or can be used alone.
“As the body ages, skin and organs begin to slowly break down in some ways. With skin, it could be the appearance of lines and wrinkles for example. Your body does not recognize this as an injury. By placing millions of newly processed SVF cells into the skin, new collagen, elastin, and components of the extra-cellular matrix are formed.”
Dr. Victor recommends SVF instead of a facelift, whereby the cells are targeted into the volume-loss areas of the face and neck. This is combined with the traditional fat augmentation of the face and looks to give back the plumpness that has been lost with the aging process. The final results are designed to make a patient look 10 to 20 years without a “pulled look.”
“It lasts anywhere from five to 10 years. And it’s great for men since facelifts on men don’t look good. Our biggest clientele are Middle Eastern men. They fly in several at a time from the UAE. The difference between my patients and the ones who just use Botox and Juvederm is that the latter addresses little areas where we are able to address the whole aging process, the whole face and neck. You look so much better than doing an area here and there.”
Dr. Victor assures that his way of processing SVF (stem cells) from fat is FDA exempt and is unique in the U.S. The patent is pending worldwide.
The center plans to add an OBGYN, orthopedic surgeon and an internal physician in the next six months. “We are looking for the best who are passionate about our regenerative medicine project and approach.”
And while it seems that ReGen is only for the wealthy, Dr. Victor said he has treated people from every walk of life.
“Patients do charity fund raising to raise money [for themselves] to get cellular treatment [when all other medicine has failed them]. The price for a facelift alternative would be $25,000, which also includes neck, face and hands coverage. Running the FDA-registered lab and facility under strict regulations for sterility is expensive.”
The acceptance of regenerative medicine has come a long way, said Dr. Victor, but still has a ways to go.
“I did a talk last month at Hunter College to writers and authors for a book I’m writing on the future of stem cells and research. Seven years ago when I would talk about stem cell research people would throw darts at me. Now I get up in front of a professional organization and people want to come and learn from me and be involved. In Congress there are two senators Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) that just put in a bill to fund people like us because they realize that by using your own body to heal yourself we can save insurance carriers $250 billion a year. We have done 76 knees, bone on bone, and we can do them for $15,000. If you go to the hospital it costs $68,000. And we do better recovery-wise than surgery.”