SkyGen Impresses at 2014 Neurology Seminars - SkyGen

SkyGen Impresses at 2014 Neurology Seminars

From Left: Dr Bruce Whittingham, Dr Kampol Poophawatanakij, Jake Lemon, Daniel Donner, Dr Thein Htut, Dr Adam Smith, Dr Jakrin Bunchongkit and Dr Sorayouth Chumnanvej
This year’s CAAQLD Annual General Meeting held in Brisbane on October 4th was the honourable host to SkyGen’s partnered international clinical specialists as they provided an informative update on available regenerative spinal and orthopaedic treatments to Australia’s allied health professionals.

As a testament to the multidisciplinary expertise inherent in their medical travel network, SkyGen opened this year’s CAAQLD Neurological seminars with introductions to its founding directors, Daniel Donner and Jake Lemon, as well as educational talks presented by impressive stem cell and neurosurgery specialists who had traveled directly from their partnered regenerative medicine clinic located in Bangkok, Thailand.

Regenerative Medicine – An Update

The provision of high standard regenerative medicine requires the coordinated effort of medical specialists from a variety of disciplines. The combined efforts of SkyGen’s affiliated neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, world-class physicians, nurses and cell biologists produce non-surgical treatment solutions for patients with either spinal cord injury or orthopaedic cartilage degeneration.

Intellihealth Plus, the regenerative medicine clinic home to the carefully sourced clinical team (select members pictured), has brought together the experience of over 2,000 patient treatments over the past decade of clinical practice.



Spinal: “These regenerative treatments of the spinal cord have produced improvements in 100% of patients treated”, said Dr Thein Htut – Medical Director of Intellihealth Plus. Some partial, some more considerable, these improvements have caught the attention of spinal cord injury patients and their physicians around the globe. Now, through the sharing of these successes and by passing these treatment options to patients of Australian allied healthcare providers, the potential for making a significant impact on the status of spinal cord injury care in Australia is nothing short of exciting.


Orthopaedic: Cartilage degeneration is incredibly prevalent in Australia. Over 1.3million Australians are currently living with osteoarthritis (OA) with many patients forced to wait for years on public waiting lists for invasive joint replacement surgery. The application of stem cell technologies and supportive therapies at Intellihealth Plus have provided these patients, and many others, with a non-surgical solution to the pain and immobility burden brought on by cartilage defects and certain joint injuries.

What are Adipose-derived Stem Cells? What are Cord Stem Cells?

As many readers will know, the human body is made up of a large variety of tissue and cell types. The maintenance of these tissues as they age and degrade relies on immature cells dividing and maturing into new functional and supportive cells. Although these ‘stem cells’ originate from a specific tissue within the body, depending on their class, many stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into completely different cells and contribute to the formation of tissues in other parts of the body.

Mesenchymal stem cells are quite easily sourced from adipose (fat) tissue through a minimally invasive mini-liposuction procedure (routinely performed without general anaesthesia). These Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ADSCs) can be isolated from the lipoaspirate and concentrated into therapeutic injections complete with endogenous growth factors and other regenerative cells found in the stromal vascular fraction.* These undifferentiated cells are then reintroduced into joint spaces (knee, hip, vertebral facets etc.) and a majority adhere, receive chemokine signals from and mature into the inflamed and damage tissue in that space.

The stem cells understood to produce this repair are called mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are also found deep inside of bone tissue and in circulating blood. However, in very low relative abundancy. The majority of stem cells found in blood are called haematopoetic stem cells and are unable to mature into anything except new blood cell types. Blood-derived stem cells are therefore most commonly used to treat diseases of the blood and immune system.

Unlike autologous ADSC treatments, cord cells are produced from the umbilical cord (not embryo) of stringently supervised and tracked, healthy, full-term pregnancies. These purified and stringently screened cell products are ‘nude’ and transplantable to other recipient patients who cannot undergo mini-liposuction for a variety of reasons.

These cells have most recently been used in the multifaceted treatment of conditions caused by spinal cord injuries (quadriplegia, paraplegia etc.) at the Intellihealth Plus clinic with promising improvement rates.

How to identify patients

Regenerative medical procedures provide the most benefit to patients who, for one or more reasons, are hesitant about or rigidly avoiding invasive surgery. Many patients only turn to regenerative medicine when they are left with no other solution to their pain, immobility or transiently asymptomatic degradation. The unfortunate truths are that severe conditions can be more difficult to treat effectively, and early patient assessment often means the difference between being approved or denied as a candidate for regenerative treatments.

One of the most significant factors determining the ‘quality’ of candidature, is the referral source and the primary care professionals’ familiarity with the contra/indications for treatment identified below:


Inclusion Criteria

  • Age: 16 – 75 years
  • Ambulatory
  • Joint degeneration confirmed by MRI/CT
  • Approved pre-surgical blood analysis
  • Age: 16 – 65 years
  • Spinal cord injury confirmed by MRI
  • Single spinal cord lesion with last fully preserved neurological level from C3 to T11

Exclusion Criteria

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe joint degeneration with fusion
  • Severe pre-existing medical diseases

Spinal Cord Injury

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age: 16 – 65 years
  • Spinal cord injury confirmed by MRI
  • Single prinal cord lesion with last fully preserved neurological level from C3 to T11

Exclusion Criteria

  • Women who are pregnant or lactating
  • Fever (above 39oC)
  • Ventilator assistance
  • Sever degenerative changes in the spine with disc protrusion
  • Serious pre-existing medical disease

Australian patients who are identified as potential candidates for these therapies are required to contact a medical travel facillitator in order to be formally assessed by the clinic and its medical review panel. SkyGen | Spinal & Orthopaedic is the exclusive Australian facillitator for the services provided to patients at Intellihealth Plus.

What services do SkyGen provide?

SkyGen, as a specialised member of the CosMediTour group, is part of Australia’s largest and most trusted medical travel agencies, coordinating the provision of world-class medical care to meet the locally unfulfilled needs of both spinal and orthopaedic patients in Australia. After identifying where a patient’s best suited clinics and hospitals are located internationally, SkyGen assembles competitive medical travel solutions that ensure each aspect of a patient’s specific needs is met.

SkyGen’s medical travel network employs the world class training and expertise of orthopaedic surgeons and regenerative medicine clinicians from around the globe, concentrated in a medical oasis located in the centre of Bangkok. SkyGen’s international medical network extends across into the Australian healthcare industry as a recipient of patient referrals from primary care centres all across the country.



How to refer patients

Exclusively to Australians seeking access to these international facilities, SkyGen and their experienced team of consultants coordinate complete medical travel packages to suit the needs of each individual patient travelling abroad. Thanks to their established relationships with partnered clinics, hospitals, hotels and airlines, SkyGen continues to be positioned as the most effective patient facilitator of patient diagnoses and treatments in response to patient referrals.

“In our experience at SkyGen, effective multidisciplinary communication underpins every successful medical procedure“, said Daniel Donner – Medical Director of SkyGen Spinal and Orthopaedic. “We coordinate treatments for patients who have been either pre-qualified through primary care physicians or have contact us directly. However, our candidature approval rate is much higher for those referred by chiropractors, physiotherapists and general practitioners; and patient outcomes are considerably better when complemented consistently by a familiar form of physical therapy.”

To refer a chiropractic patient for treatment through SkyGen, it is recommended that a patient is first informed of: 1) the role of SkyGen as a medical travel agency, 2) the location of the clinic to provide the regenerative medicine treatment (Bangkok, Thailand), and 3) the request to forward patient imaging reports to SkyGen for diagnosis and treatment plan coordination.

Lastly, the referral should contain SkyGen’s contact details as well as a brief summary of the patient’s medical history as well as any medical imagery reports deemed approprate (if consent is provided by the patient). The majority of patients insist on sending medical imargery themselves and this can be expedited by the physician freely sharing these reports with the patient at their convenience.

An insight into the patient experience

Naturally, some Australian patients are hesitant about pursuing medical treatments overseas. Every aspect of these fears and hesitations has been broken down by SkyGen’s patient facilitation procedures thanks to their maintenance of a fantastic team of consultants and world class healthcare providers.

After a patient is provided with a referral to SkyGen, the patient either calls 1300 759 436 (1300 SKYGEN) or emails and shares the patient referral information provided to them by the chiropractor. Patients are instructed by their SkyGen consultant to complete an online medical history form and submit their medical imagery reports before their information is packaged; sent to the clinic for assessment and diagnosis; and returned to the patient with a comprehensive treatment plan and quotation. This part of the patient processing procedure is entirely cost- and obligation-free.

At the patient’s convenience, a medical travel package is booked and the patient receives their personalised medical travel folio before traveling in complete open contact with their designated SkyGen consultant. All flights, luxury transfers, accommodation, breakfasts as well as all medical components of their treatment plan (pre-operative care, treatment and post-operative care, personal nursing etc.) are catered for by the SkyGen client services team.

Following their treatment, patients are often quite ambulant and able to enjoy their time abroad. Upon returning to Australia, patients are urged to follow their post-treatment care plan and re-engage with their primary care physician and physical therapy with their initial referrer.

A vast majority of SkyGen’s facilitated patients have either written or recorded insightfully positive testimonials and success stories of new leases on previously pain-burdened lives.  These videos and other examples of patient feedback are available on the SkyGen website (

Are you an Australian health professional? Are you interested in visiting the clinic for yourself and your patients?

SkyGen’s partnered network of airlines and five-star accommodation providers would like to extend a warm welcome to the Intellihealth Clinic to all members Australia’s diverse network of private and public healthcare providers.
SkyGen currently offers 7 night stay packages at the Five Star Aetas Bangkok Hotel available from $1,899 (prices valid until December 2014 and subject to on/off-peak airfare periods).
[Package includes: return flights, five star accommodation at Aetas (adjacent to the clinic), daily breakfasts, complimentary massage and meal packages, free luxury Bangkok airport transfers, private tour(s) of the clinic facilities and more.]

Contact SkyGen today on 1300 SKYGEN (759 436)

Patients and physicians are able to engage with SkyGen directly via:  the SkyGen website (,  SkyGen’s Client Services team (, 1300 SKYGEN (759 436) or visit us at SkyGen Australia, Suite 2.36 Medical Precinct, Level 2, Oasis Shopping Centre, Broadbeach, QLD 4218

*Dependent on quality of clinic-adopted protocols. Intellihealth Plus in one such clinic that successfully purifies the stromal vascular fraction without washing or culturing lipoaspirates. All IH+ patients receive a flow cytometry report of the cell count and viability of their own purified cell product.

*Please read: Although the information provided on this page may describe a particular patient experience and/or outcome, readers must understand that each patient presents with a unique medical history and may be recommended a different treatment/surgery by their surgeon to that described above. Individual results may vary between surgery centre/hospital, surgeon, surgery type and patient. Although SkyGen agrees to share all updates from patients at their request, SkyGen does not endorse any physical activities attempted by patients following surgery which do not follow the explicit instructions provided by their surgeon. SkyGen encourages all patients to discuss the risks of such activities with medical professionals before attempting these themselves.

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Written by SkyGen Public Relations

This content is copyright and property of SkyGen Spinal & Orthopaedic. It was written to educate our patients in making informed decisions regarding their own healthcare. SkyGen is Australia's largest international collaboration between world class regenerative medicine clinics and orthopaedic hospitals.