Stem Cell Therapy Without the Stem Cells


Stem Cell Therapy Without the Stem Cells

Walter P. Drake

Panama College of Cell Science, Azuero Business Center,
Suite 758 Avenida Perez Chitre, 00395, Panama

Correspondence to: Walter P. Drake ND, PhD, Bengal Bioscience,
411 Walnut St #4387, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 (

Cite As: Drake, Walter P, “Stem Cell Therapy Without the Stem Cells”, Panama College of  Cell Science, Publisher, January 31, 2023  Accessed: January 31, 2023

The Paired-Mice Experiments, coming out of the Thomas A. Rando lab during the period 2005-2015 demonstrated that it was serum factors from the young mouse, and not stem cells, that caused the regeneration of muscle injury in the conjoined aged mouse. [1,2,3,4].

The significance of this observation has been pretty much lost on the stem cell therapy clinicians, who have, over the last 20 years worldwide, been emphasizing stem cell therapy as the introduction of exogenous stem cells into the patient and observing beneficial therapeutic effects. The primary emphasis has been on using the SVF fraction, that is, harvesting 50-60 ml of fatty tissue from a patient via abdominal liposuction, processing the tissue to remove fat cells, and re-injecting the cells back into the patient.

On April 6, 2016, it was noted in a summary of the Paired Mice Experiments, that clinicians should be focusing on the related cytokines, growth factors, and messenger molecules that activate dormant stem cells in vivo, not on the stem cells themselves. [5]

Today it is postulated that the in vivo activation of dormant stem cell repair activity is the primary cause of increased therapeutic benefit to patients, not the injection of stem cells themselves. We can almost say that stem cells are not even particularly necessary to the beneficial stem cell treatment of various conditions and diseases. 

This theory is supported by a number of studies concluding that the number of stem cell do not decline as we age, but rather, the regenerative function of the stem cells declines due to changes in cellular environment. Take for example this quote from an important review paper:

“Recent evidence supports the model that stem cells in several tissues are largely retained in a quiescent state but can be coaxed back into the cell cycle in response to extracellular cues, even after prolonged periods of dormancy.” [6]

This theory, that the activation of dormant stem cells in vivo by the external injection of cellular factors or other biologicals that cause the patient’s own stem cells to “wake up” and become activated, can explain virtually all of the observations of beneficial “stem cell therapy” to date, including virtually all modalities: 

Liver regeneration has been ongoing in Russia and now the Ukraine for over 20 years in which a “soup” comprised of crushed and filtered fetal liver tissue, injected into a patient’s liver regenerates the liver.

Amniotic fluid, containing virtually no stem cells, but over 300 cytokines, is a powerful therapeutic agent [7,8]

Conditioned stem cell media, that is, culture media harvested from stem cell cultures after removing the stem cells, has been shown to have a direct rejuvenating effect when applied to the face. [9]

Use of Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) in stem cell therapy (10) could actually be posited to  cause a therapeutic result because the required liposuction procedure itself causes injury and dissociation of the adipose tissue. This in turn releases growth factors and other cytokines from the adipose tissue in vivo, thereby resulting in activation of the patient’s “dormant” stem cells leading to a therapeutic effect.

The use of “bare-bones” FDA approved umbilical cord stem cells (UCB’s) does not seem to produce any therapeutic effect, because, without the stimulation or activation of innate stem cells due to liposuction or other endogenous events,  there is no activation of in vivo stem cells.

Fetal stem cells (not embryonic stem cells) in therapy seem to either be used in addition to associated cytokines obtained in the harvesting procedure, as mentioned here: “When performing our fetal stem cells treatment for our patients, we: (1) increase the amount of new active stem cells, and (2) stimulate patient’s own stem cells in the body to further self-rejuvenation” [11 ]; or possibly they themselves, through secretory mechanisms, stimulate innate stem cell activity, as stated here: “Fetal Stem Cells also release Cytokines. Cytokines are cell-derived, hormone-like polypeptides that regulate cellular replication, differentiation, and activation. Cytokines can bring normal cells and tissues to a higher level of function, allowing the body’s own healing mechanisms to partner with the transplanted Fetal Stem Cells for repair and new growth” [12].

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells (UCB’s) harvested from cord blood, and placental tissue, as used by the well respected Stem Cell Institute of Panama posed a bit of a riddle in that Director Neil H. Riordan has been espousing the use of UCB’s for a variety of diseases and conditions. However, even he is not engrafting these mesenchymal stem cells. Although his center does inject UCB’s, they are specifically selected “to have the best anti-inflammatory activity, the best immune modulating capacity, and the best ability to stimulate regeneration” [13].

Burns and wounds. These are a separate category where the actual spraying of stem cells onto burns has been extremely effective. However, in this situation, the very nature of burns and wounds is that a lot of new stem cell activators are already on site, thereby causing the added stem cells to aid healing. In this narrow situation, the activators of stem cell activity are already deployed due to the nature of the injury.

Conclusion: Since stem cells are resident in virtually every tissue and organ, the patient does not need any more stem cells. What the patient needs is the stimulation and activation of endogenous growth factors and cytokines that can come about from the  in vivo stimulation by one or more means. Liposuction is just one means of injury, that most likely by itself, is causing the activation of innate stem cells without any need for re-injection of more autologous stem cells. 

Techniques, such as those use in fat reduction, should be explored as a means to dissociate the extracellular matrix of abdominal tissue in situ, with the goal of activating innate systemic stem cell activity. This may be achieved by in situ lipolysis, laser applications, ultrasound, and other modalities likely to dissociate and break down the adipose tissue extracellular matrix, thereby releasing various endogenous stem cell activating cells and factors into the periphery.


1. Conboy, IM et al. “Rejuvenation of aged progenitor cells by exposure to a young systemic environment”, Nature (2005)433:760.

2. Carlson, ME et al., ““Imbalance between pSmad3 and Notch induces CDKinhibitors in old muscle stem cells”, Nature (2008) 454:528

3. Elabd, C et al., ““Oxytocin is an age-specific circulating hormone that is necessary for muscle maintenance and regeneration” Nature Commun. (2014) 5:4082.

4. Scudellari, M., ““Ageing research: Blood to blood”, Nature (2015) 517:426-429.

5. Drake, WP, The Importance of the Paired Mice Experiments to Adult Stem Cell Therapy”, Panama College of Cell Science, Publisher, 04/06/2016:

Accessed January 31, 2023

6. Sharpless NE, and DePinho RA, “How stem cells age and why this makes us grow old”, Nature (2007) 8:703.

7. Pierce, J et al. “Collection and characterization of amniotic fluid from scheduled C-section deliveries”, Cell and Tissue Banking (2016) 17(3): 413-425.

8. Bowen, CM et al. “Cell-Free Amniotic Fluid and Regenerative Medicine: Current Applications and Future Opportunities”, Biomedicines (2022) 10(11): 2960. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10112960. PMID: 36428527; PMCID: PMC9687956

9. Kim, HJ, “A study on clinical effectiveness of cosmetics containing human stem cell conditioned media”, Biomed Dermatol (2020) 4(9)

10. Comella, et al., “Safety Analysis of Autologous Stem Cell Therapy in a Variety of Degenerative Diseases and Injuries Using the Stromal Vascular Fraction”, J Clin Med Res (2017) 9(11):935-942. 

11. “Emcell Anti-Aging Treatment”, Emcell Therapy Center, Publisher,  Accessed January 31, 2023.

12. “Frequently Asked Questions”, Stem Cell Of America, Publisher,  Accessed January 31, 2023.

13. “Our Science and Research”, Stem Cell Institute, Publisher,  Accessed January 31, 2023.


Key words: Cell-free therapy, stem cell therapy without stem cells, activation of innate stem cells, activation of dormant stem cells, Walter P Drake stem cell scientist,