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Stem Cells, Exosomes, and a Degenerated Hip, Oh My!


Photo: Dr. William Clearfield, D.O.

This hip,” a distressed Linda Z. said, pointing right, “I broke it ice skating when I was 13.”

“Did you have it replaced?” I asked.

“No. Too young they told me. I can barely stand anymore. Now I’m 68, they want to replace it.”

“Surgeons got to surgery,” I said.

“Not me,” she said, “I can’t sit around all day and do nothing,” she replied. “I was a horsewoman. Had to give it up. Heck, I can barely get out of this seat. So, I took up Latin wheelchair dance.”

“There’s Latin wheelchair dancing?” I asked.

Linda shot me an are you for real look.“ I came in fourth in the 2013 Latin Division of International Paralympic Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup,” she said. “Would have been higher, but I snapped a lug in doing the Cha-Cha.”

“Amazing,” I said. “Back to your hip. So, we’ve done all the usual things. Heat and ice?”


“Exercise, weight loss, acupuncture, soaking in mineral hot springs, electrical stimulation.”

“Check, check, and check.”

“Medication, cortisone shots, nerve blocks, the “rooster comb,” hyaluronic acid shots.”

“Yes, yes and yes,” Linda said. “I’ve even done reiki, chakra balancing, yoga, and meditation. There’s got to be something out there before they cut me open.”1

“Well…,” I said. “You know we pride ourselves on being the cutting edge…?”

“Yeah, yeah. You’re the best, Doc. What is it?”

“I have just one word for you, Linda: Exosomes.”

“Exoso..who?” she asked.

“Exosomes,” I replied. “Tiny messengers. think of Captain Kirk from Star Trek in an escape pod leaving the USS Enterprise and traveling to an alien planet, delivering life-altering supplies — in the case of exosomes, DNA, RNA, and proteins to other cells, changing the function and genetic composition of the receiving cells.2-3

“Sounds like stem cells,” Linda said.

“Close. Exosomes descend from stem cells,” I replied. “The issue with stem cells is they contain inflammatory proteins and donor genetic material that can cause rejection and allergic reactions. Exosomes are filtered for any rejection of potential material.

“We inject them directly into your hip. The growth factors in exosomes replace your injured tissue with growth factors, activating stem cells wherever they are infused. For even better results we mix them with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to stimulate blood flow, protect against stress-induced toxins, and programmed cell death. The exosomes are directly anti-inflammatory and secrete immune and antimicrobial proteins.”

“So, let’s do it,” she said.

On April 23, 2019, Linda’s partner and I lifted her from her wheelchair to the treatment table. Forty-five minutes later, following an exosome and PRP injection into her hip along with an intravenous push for a “global” effect, she asked, “Did you do anything? I barely felt it.”

Linda got off the treatment table herself and, albeit with a slight limp, walked to her car.

That night, I received a call. “For the first time in four years, I fed the horses myself without help and without sitting down,” she said. The next night, with the pain in her hip and back significantly reduced, Linda had a full night’s sleep for the first time in “at least 10 years.”

Six weeks post-injection Linda stopped by the office. “The exosomes are awesome,” she said. “They’ve changed my life. I don’t feel like I am crippled up anymore. I feel better and am walking better than I have in years. I had given up hope of regaining mobility unless I looked at surgery. Now I don’t need it.”

Obviously, this is an anecdotal narrative. A “real doctor-scientist” would scoff at Linda’s tale as being a one-off. Peer-reviewed evidence research is necessary to make exosome therapy “traditional” versus “experimental.” A survey of 19 such medical journals reveals that an 84% rate of all exosome literature is less than three years old.

We wanted to share Linda’s adventure to highlight what’s possible in the now and what the future holds. I hope you join us for the ride.

For more information, please call us at 775-359-1222 or email us at doctrbil9 @ gmail.com.


  1. Arthritis Foundation; 25 Treatments for Hip and Knee Arthritis,” arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/tips/25-treatments-for-hip-knee-oa.php Accessed June 6, 2019.
  2. Hildreth, Cade, “What Are Exosomes?,” Bioinformant, bioinformant.com/what-are-exosomes/, August 5, 2018
  3. Lötvall, J. et. Al. “Exosome-mediated transfer of mRNAs and microRNAs is a novel mechanism of genetic exchange between cells. “ Nat. Cell Biol. 2007, DOI: 10.1038/ncb1596).

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