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Thread: Surgical Procedures offered by the International Spinal Cord Regeneration Center in Tijuana, Mexico

  1. #1

    Surgical Procedures offered by the International Spinal Cord Regeneration Center in Tijuana, Mexico

    The International Spinal Cord Regeneration Center in Tijuana, Mexico has been in operation for nearly 10 years. They offer an unusual and controversial treatment: spinal cord surgery with embryonic shark transplants into the spinal cord. They do decompression surgery and alternative therapies. Dr. Fernando Ramirez del Rio and Dr. Carlos Romero Gaitán carry out the surgery.

    Their web site is and they can be contacted at by email or by telephone 011-52-66-832-944 within Mexico or the following phones in the USA
    Phone (619) 463-5350
    FAX (619) 460-2699
    Cellular (619) 954-1933

    Dr. Ramirez del Rio is an orthopedic surgeon who trained in Mexico, the U.S. and London while Dr. Carlos Romero Gaitán is a neurosurgeon who is departmental chairman of neurosurgery of the Autonomous University of Baja, California.

    The surgery takes 8-12 hours, removes bone and other objects that may be pressing against the spinal cord, removes scar tissue at the injury site, and drains spinal cord cysts that may have developed after injury. If necessary, a shunt is placed into the cyst and drained into the peritoneum. The spinal column is reconstructed orthopedically. Finally embryonic cell cultures from the shark are injected intrathecally close to the injury site.

    According to documents from the Tijuana Center, the shark "embryo cells form a matrix or infrastructure that can accomodate neural transmission when stimulated." 4-AP and creatine cystretinoic acid are also included in he medical regimen. The documents state that the "blue shark embryo was chosen for two reasons: It has an uncommonly strong immune system and its gestation period is nine months, similar to humans. Embryonic cells rather than fetal cells are utilized because they are not rejected by the host".

    The post-surgical rehabilitation emphasizes physical therapy to strength muscles and to retrain neural pathways. A psychological support program is considered to be essential. Family and psychosocial support is also provided.

    More details of the Tijuana Center can be found in the Research section of the CareCure site:

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on November 05, 2001 at 05:22 PM.]

  2. #2

    info. On Dr. Fernando Ramirez del Rio & Dr. Carlos Romero Gaitan

    Fernando Ramirez del Rio, M.D., Medical Director and Orthopedic Surgeon

    1969 Degree as a medical doctor and surgeon
    National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City
    1970 Diplomate in medicine for foreign medical graduates Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami, Coral Gables, USA Chairman, Dr. Penalver
    1971 Emergency medicine Boston University affiliated Whidden Memorial Hospital Chairman, Dr. Peter Sapiensa
    1972 Rotating internship in surgeryBrown University affiliated Roger Williams Hospital
    Chairman, Dr. Jack Savran
    1973 Pediatric orthopedics and adult surgery
    Registrar at Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street and San Georges Hospital University of London, England Chairman, Mr. George Lloyd Roberts
    1974- Residency in orthopedic and hand surgery
    1977 Bowman Gray Medical Center, Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA Chairman, Dr. Anthony G. Gristina
    1977- Head of Orthopedic Section
    1980 Centro Medico Osler Monterey, N.L., Mexico
    1980- Full Time Professor, Orthopedic Surgery
    1982 Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico
    School of Medicine
    1983- Head of Orthopedic Surgery Department
    1985 INTERMED Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    1986- Head of Orthopedic and Hand Surgery
    1989 MEDYCA Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    1990- Medical Director and Founder
    Present Binational Institute of Trauma
    (Instituto Binacional de las Californias de Traumatolagia Ortopedia, Rehabiltacion y Cicncias Afines, S.C.)
    Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    1991- Medical Director and Founder
    Present International Spinal Cord Regeneration Center
    Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

    Carlos Romero Gaitán, M.D., Chief Neurosurgeon

    1975 Degree as a medical doctor and surgeon
    National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City
    1983 Diplomate in Neurosurgery Centro Medico la Raza National Autonomous University of Mexico affiliated
    1987 Full time professor of Neurosurgery Autonomous University of Baja California
    1987- Head of Neurosurgery
    1990 MEDYCA Tijuana, Baja California, Mexiso
    1991- Head of Neurosurgery
    Present International Spinal Cord Regeneration Center
    1988- Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery
    Present Autonomous University of Baja California

  3. #3
    It may be useful for people to understand why the shark transplant procedure offered by this clinic is controversial and why many doctors believe that this therapeutic approach has no merit.

    First, shark embryo cells are very likely to be rejected immunologically when transplanted to people because they possess many foreign proteins that would be recognized by the human immune system as "foreign". The claim that these cells would not be rejected, to my knowledge, has never been shown clearly and satisfactorily.

    Second, it is unclear how these cells would promote regeneration of the spinal cord. That, too, to my knowledge, has never been shown in any animal study or in humans. The advocates of this therapy claim that sharks never develop cancer and that shark embryo cells would confer this property when transplanted into humans. There are other clinics that claim that embryonic shark cartilage is useful for cancer and arthritis.

    Third, the group has made some difficult to believe claims on their web site, have not published any of their work in a credible medical journal, and charge up to U.S. $100,000 for the procedures. Over the past decade, several dozen Americans with spinal cord injury have gone to this clinic. I have never seen credible evidence that any of these people have recovered substantially from the procedure, more than could be explained by the decompression and untethering surgery and intense rehabilitation.

    The shark embryo transplant has not been adopted by any other doctor (that I know of) in Mexico or the U.S. Given the absence of credible animal or clinical evidence of the beneficial effects of this treatment, the unsubstantiated claims that they have made on internet, and the substantial amounts they are charging for this procedure, I do not recommend that people undergo this therapy.

    Sam Maddox published two articles on the shark embryo transplant therapy in New Mobility several years ago. If you go to the New Mobility site and do a search for "Tijuana", you will find the two articles that you can order from the company for $2 and $1 apiece. In it, he conducted interviews of some 20+ patients who had received this treatment.


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