In this episode of The HEALS Pod, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James Utley, who joined us all the way from Panama City, Panama. Dr. Utley shared his journey of starting a stem cell regenerative medicine clinic called Origins in Panama City after conducting independent research in Las Vegas.

Dr. Utley discussed the process of using mesenchymal stem cells from donated umbilical cords at Origins, highlighting the ethical sourcing and transparency in their manufacturing process. He emphasized the importance of evidence-based treatments and the differences in regulations between Panama and the United States.

The conversation delved into Dr. Utley’s background in the United States Navy and his experience in blood banking and transfusion services, leading to his passion for life sciences and stem cell research. He also touched upon the potential of stem cell treatments in various medical conditions, including osteoarthritis, injury recovery, autoimmune diseases, and autism.

We explored the challenges and opportunities in bringing stem cell therapies to the United States, with Dr. Utley expressing optimism about the future of cellular therapy and genetic engineering. He highlighted the need for more research and evidence-based practices to ensure safe and effective treatments for patients.

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Full Transcript

DIEGO TRUJILLO:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of The HEALS Pod. I am your host, Diego Trujillo, really excited about what’s going on in our city, all the innovation, all the change and everything that’s happening. And sometimes, you know, when we’re trying to innovate, when we’re trying to create new things, we can kind of run into some walls, some difficulties. sometimes were stifled by regulations and things like that. My guest today is very interesting because they started it based here in Las Vegas and they had to expand, right? To be able to push the type of research they were looking to do. And I really want to unpack a little bit about it because I know a lot of us have questions when it comes to stem cells and what stem cell treatments do, how they work and what the differences are. And with me today, I have a very special guest that is calling in all the way from Panama City, Panama, and I’m very excited to be able to interview Dr. James Utley that joins us today. How are you doing today? I’m doing well. Thanks for having me. Fantastic. Well, I would have loved to have gotten you out here to Las Vegas, but I know that your work has you down there in Panama City. But I think what you guys are doing is fascinating. I’ve been kind of keeping an eye ever since this was an idea. And eventually, me and you knew each other here in Las Vegas from different events and different processes. I’m sorry, different events and different organizations. And then all of a sudden, you kind of came up with, hey, yeah, I’m moving to Panama City. And I’ve been taking it back like, okay, what is it about Panama City? Why Panama City? And then kind of wanted to unpack that. So what are you doing down in Panama?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, so I guess that’s a good place to start. Yeah, I think when we first met, yeah, it was already seeded, the idea of what was happening down here. There was a there was actually research being done at the lab there, but it was independent research by myself, right? And it was really kind of looking at, you know, different cellular function, the way we could stain cells, culturing techniques, etc. And then it resulted in, you know, the movement to Panama here and opening Origins, which is really a stem cell regenerative medicine, you know, clinic and center that provides mesenchymal stem cells for clinical application for different, for broad use. And that’s what kind of makes Panama the ideal place for this type of one research into clinical application. But yeah, it started in Las Vegas. And now that was the whole, that was the whole thing. Of course, no, there’s no patients. It was all just independent research that happened, which was really taking the start of what we call the explant culture method. And then And then kind of refining it and just understanding and learning it, perfecting the craft, if you will. And then, you know, ready for bring it to prime time to, uh, down here in Panama.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So taking it, taking it a step back, right. Cause I wanted to unpack this and I was thinking on how we do this by stages. I’d love to kind of get into your background. What, what gave you this, uh, this passion for, for life sciences and what you started exploring and how you got to this, this place you are now.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it was actually kind of serendipitously that I arrived here. I had always been kind of fascinated with this specific cell line, and it was really kind of tipped off in the work that’s been done in graft-versus-host disease, right, and that type of research. So that’s kind of like the teaser of why I was like, oh, this is an interesting These cells are interesting, right? But, you know, long before that, I most certainly cut my teeth in the United States Navy, you know, and I worked in blood banking and transfusion service, you know, basically all through the Navy. And that’s where, you know, all the training and background comes from. Yeah, yeah, that’s where, that’s where it kind of all started. I, for nine years, I worked for Banner Health and then this group called Laboratory Sciences of Arizona. I don’t know if, so I was the technical director there for the last five, which was for all the blood banks and transfusion service, which really kind of broadened, you know, it’s, it’s Banner operated six, 30 hospitals over six states, etc. We just kind of hosted all the you know, procedures and protocols and everything for them. So that’s where a lot of the technical work came here.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: COVID happened. That was your foundation. Just out of curiosity, that was your foundation kind of getting you set up in the life sciences in the lab space. But up to that point, had you done any research? Did you look to innovate? Was there any innovation in your process?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, uh, let me see. I want to make sure I understand that question.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So, so currently you’re, you’re doing a lot of innovation, right? When it comes to stem cells and what you’re talking about, um, as we discuss these, these mesenchymal stem cells, you said there was an interest there, but when you were working in the lab technician, that was more, most in the blood banking, that was more in, in lab processes. There wasn’t innovation in that space or was there also?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, no, no. Yeah, no, there’s tons of innovation. I could think like even just right before, you know, right before I left that space, we were working on sorrel and treated platelets, which is a way to treat platelets for, you know, the mitigation of bacterial contamination. Then I think kind of like my one of this like prime project that I always hang my hat on. was this one with a vendor called Hemanetics. That’s when I was in the Navy. It’s a glycerolization, meaning providing the ability to freeze and unfreeze red blood cell units. So that’s a, which was, you know, this is like 2005, I believe. And that, so we ended up putting all these frozen units on all the naval ships and then four deployed during the, you know, the time of the war. But that was an innovative piece there. So there’s always been kind of like for me, I’ve always kind of been pushing the envelope in terms of innovation. And then, you know, I I kind of really got deep into some genetic engineering and some CRISPR technology. That’s kind of in the last four or five years or so, which is definitely surprisingly. So, yeah, it was just surprisingly easy, you know, and part of that really, I guess it was called a biohacker community there. So there’s a lot.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: I mean, there’s The first deployment of CRISPR actually. So my father had a very rare disease called amyloidosis and the very first deployment of CRISPR was against that disease. There was no cure. There was no really treatment. Even during our treatment, one of the oncologists looked and said, yeah, it looks like everyone else was just taking a shotgun approach to see what would work on this. Like, you know, they were doing chemo and, and different things, but nothing seemed to work. So I remember it was about a year after his passing that they deployed CRISPR and sure enough, they had very good outcomes with a patient with amyloidosis.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, for sure. There’s a whole frontier in front of us as well here. this technology relational to the computational improvements of AI. We have a crazy future of innovation in front of us.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: It seems like a very exciting time when we hear a lot of the quotes.

JAMES UTLEY: I think it’s the most exciting time because this is the first time in human history that we have the ability to edit our own genetics here purposefully. So yeah, it’s crazy.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So what was it then that made the connection to Origins where you are now, right? So you mentioned that you were working with Banner after the Navy. Where did the connection to Las Vegas come from? Where did that hit?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I mean, at the time I was living in Phoenix, like the connection to Las Vegas is my family lives there. And then there was just like I said, it was kind of a happenstance event where there was an alignment of like minded people that, you know, I had met along the way. And this was an idea that hadn’t materialized. But it’s kind of one of those, if you’re you know, maybe, maybe you’re destined to walk this path. And that was the because, you know, I mean, I was a self therapy guy, you know, we’re, you know, I’m making, you know, developing and pushing self therapies, you know, and that’s essentially what what I do. And, and this having this opportunity, which was never apparent, you know, like it was never in the plan, right? It just, it was it was a series of folks with some ideas. And then input the right background and some good research that happened probably a year prior to this endeavor, you know, year, year and a half. You know, because, you know, other things is, you know, I completed the AABB cell therapy program, you know, these are all things are just manufacturing, like lots of different cells, right? Like, but, but that’s how it kind of arrived here where There’s this whole movement in regenerative medicine, and it was just kind of an alignment that is hard to explain, but it just happened.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: A little bit of luck, huh? Right place, right time, and you had the right skillset.

JAMES UTLEY: That’s about most things in life.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, you’re just prepared and something that you’re passionate about and it just turned out they need to do. So tell us a little bit about origins. What is origins? What do you guys look at? You know, I hear about stem cells all over the world and people, you know, a while ago were, oh yeah, I’m going to Tijuana. And I remember seeing stem cell billboards everywhere. And now I’m seeing them in the US, they’re advertising stem cell therapy. So I want to kind of explain to the people that are listening today, what is the difference? What was it about Origins? I’m sure you are aware of stem cells already, right? This is nothing new. Oh, yeah, for sure. So what was it about Origins that really caught your attention that you said, huh, this seems like something worth pursuing? What was the goal that was different here?

JAMES UTLEY: Okay. Yeah. I mean, so there’s a couple of ways to divide that question up. I think the first one is what, I mean, first is what is origins. Of course, we are, you know, a stem cell clinic here in regenerative medicine center, as I mentioned, um, we harvest our MSCs or mess. We’re going to, we’ll use that term, um, uh, from Wharton Shelly, right. From donated umbilical cord from Wharton Shelly. Now, in my opinion, that’s probably the most rich source of MSCs. And there’s no ethical concern because these are all donated, right? They’re donated under informed consent from a program that we have here at a local hospital that sits right next to our center. So it’s perfect. So you have, now, you have the ability, so these, so that’s one part of it. That’s what we do, right? And we operate here in Panama because, I mean, people believe that it’s kind of like the wild, wild west and there’s no laws or regulations, which is far from the truth. We have, they have, They actually have some pretty strict regulations. It’s just they have carved out this piece of the law here that you can use this cell therapy for, you know, a broader application, right? So it would be equivalent to using something in the U.S. as, you know, all based on all evidence-based, based on literature, etc. But it you can you can you can use it. So there’s no there’s no hiding or anything like that. What I fear, so now we’ll stop there. That’s just the beginning part of the amazing things that happen at Origins, right? But to transition to the next part of your question is, yes, you do see stem cell clinics that are all over the United States to include in Las Vegas, you know, for one is those are harvested from the person from self, their colitologous donation, right? So there’s different ways to do that from bone marrow or fat. Um, and so they’re, they’re harvesting the mesenchymals or the MSCs and those cells are as old as the patient, right? So, you know, there’s a kind of a common sense theory that, um, you know, if, if, if something is, is aged as, as old as you are, right. Um, then there’s a probably, you know, there’s, there’s less opportunity for function, even though the literature kind of argues that back and forth. Right. So there’s some opportunity there. Um, my biggest concern I think is, the FDA has some really strict verbiage around, you know, regenerative medicine clinics in the U.S. and the use of stem cells and or exosome products. And it’s all over there. It’s all over the website. It’s for consumer protection, et cetera. But still clinics are offering that, right? And so they Now, by doing so, I think it gives rise, and this is my own opinion, to kind of some black market behavior, if you will. Because if you’re a patient and you’re asking the next, like, okay, well, where did this come from? Because you do see, aside from the autologous cells, they used to have ones that are harvested from different tissue sources, right? amnio or placenta, etc. So, but you want to ask like, where did this, you know, and even in the exosome world, right, with exosomes, which are, you know, a secretum factor of an MSC, right? So it’s what, it’s what the cells secrete. You asked where do they come from and things like that? And I don’t think that the patients there in the US they don’t get really clear answers because there’s not a Really kind of a logistics train. That’s very clear, right? right, and so what what it does is it opens up the the window for What I’ve been coining as some black market behavior. Yeah now here in Panama completely different We have our laboratory is glass. It’s from floor to ceiling. It’s glass. We have every section of the process. It’s all mapped out. And when the patients come here, here to Origins here in Panama, they get to see everything that’s happening from a manufacturing standpoint. And it’s full transparency and audit. That’s everything with the Ministry of Health here and this organization, which is like an FDA like, um, so there’s all of that, you know, it’s complete, complete transparency where you get everything from raw source materials to the end product from, you know, we say from, from vein to vein, right. Which means from the donation to the infusion, it’s, you can look at every step and audit every step, which is, that’s what makes this place different. Now that’s from a, like a manufacturing or what they call continued good manufacturing practice. Now, then you move into this kind of this argument of whose cells are better, right? And that’s where there’s, of course, there’s a debate, but we know that the function of these, you know, cells that are donated from Wharton Shelly is pretty much evidenced in the literature that they are superior to any that would be in any cell, any other MSC that’s harvested from adipose, etc. So people might argue that we just, we know that from our patients as well as the research we do.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And I’m sure that, like you said, some of it’s anecdotal, right? A cell that has been around for 40 years collecting radiation from the sun and just the environment and contaminants and things like that. And correct me where I’m wrong, because I’m not studied in this, but it would seem that a brand new cell would probably have more potential to have a positive impact than one that’s already been affected throughout its life as it’s being created and as it’s being regenerated, no?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s like, that’s a, that’s a fair analogy. You know, there’s a couple of ways to look at it. You can look at some, the cytogenetic portion of like, so what’s the ability that way. And you can, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s all of those, but we do, we harvest from mortgage jelly. So we know that there, uh, those cells are optimal. Um, And I think that it’s, I mean, it’s evidence in the literature, but it’s also, we look at, you know, the patients that we track here, and I thinkā€¦ Right, you’re able to observe that.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, I mean, I always find it interesting, I think the gentleman’s name was Thomas Midgley, or Midgley, he invented leaded gasoline and ended up lying about inventing, they think he is probably responsible for more death on this planet than anybody else. because he invented leaded gasoline knowing that it would be putting lead into the air. So for about 30 years, people everywhere around the world were breathing in leaded gasoline. And it’s really interesting. You look at the data and the statistics on like violent crime during those years and how they went up, up, up, up, up until they cut the leaded gasoline. And obviously there was huge settlements and lawsuits around that because it wasn’t as inert as he had kind of exhibited. And they were able to test people that were alive during that period just by the level of contaminants within their body. So I mean, again, the assumption that that being in an environment and add to that, like atomic testing and things like that, that just contaminate our environment, I would assume that the cells would be affected by that as well. The things that we’re drinking and eating versus again, the brand new cells that are collected from the jelly, like you mentioned.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s an environment. So me personally, I know that I’ve, I’ve spent some time kind of like, uh, talking with folks and, you know, trying to be collegiate around this debate here. And what I have found is that some of the regenerative medicine like stem cell centers in the US, because they’re you know, it’s like, it’s, it’s like religion, you know, they, and which is really meaning that they don’t want to are they they have a belief system, which is, yeah, is great. So I haven’t, you’re gonna knock down their framework, and I’m gonna push you into picking a side here.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: All right. No, I’m just kidding. No, it’s, it’s very interesting to see that. I mean, and I think it’s, it’s reflective. Again, when you just look at the pricing on things, um, and, and the cost of what things are. I know there’s another manufacturer, a drug manufacturer here in the U.S., right, that makes, uh, semaglutide. And their biggest concern is they’re like, yeah, you know, typically this is the cost. And there’s people that are getting this from China for, you know, and administering it for $200 a shot. There’s no way they can know what the quality is, what they’re getting, right? And unfortunately, even though it’s not a legal generic, these doctors are able to obtain this, they’re able to give it to their patients, and it’s just a matter of time before a bad batch comes in, we see some negative effects, and it just kind of takes the entire thing. Whereas having the ability to say, yes, that hospital right there, is where we source our product, where we source the stem, the product, the stem cells, right? The umbilical cords, this room right here is where we extract. I mean, the entire process is overseen and like you mentioned is transparent.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s the most important part, I think there, because you, you know, and if there’s a, like a call to action for patients is that if you’re looking at these stem cell clinics or the regenerative medicine clinics that are using stem cells in the U.S. Just first do a quick Google search on the FDA website. You know, they have warning letters and these type of things. And there is a lot of them. So it’s, you look, it’s really easy. It’s like clinic and then write FDA warning and then it’ll provide, you know, either they’ve inspected them, they’ve warned them, you know, this is all public record. So I always just say like, Hey, you know, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just do a little googly and you might find it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. Okay. All right. That’s fair. So what is it about this process that you guys do there that you can’t do here in the United States out of curiosity?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I, the true essence of it is really kind of unknown, but we’re the, uh, now what we know is that it’s the culture expansion. So that’s made from taking one, making many, that is actually the part that’s in, uh, restricted in the US, because if you do that, then it falls in a category that’s called more than minimally manipulated. And if you do that, then you have to go down a regulatory pathway, which is an investigation of a new drug, et cetera. And so that’s the key. So there’s people that try to work around that so they’re not like technically, they’re not crossing that barrier of however that’s defined of more than minimally manipulated. then they can have some more laterality. But again, it’s like, it’s just loophole type stuff. Yeah, it’s great. And so that’s the, that’s the whole thing. That’s why they exist. I’m, I’m sure of it. Um, but having some real clear interpretation of what you can and cannot do, um, through that’s like from end to end from, through the whole process, um, kind of like, kind of like figured out, it’s like, it’s the culture expansion. They don’t lie. Maybe they, maybe, maybe it’s been termed in an FDA guidance as unnatural. Um, so therefore, you know, but, uh, it’s really, it’s one of those things where it’s like, there’s got to be more layers to the rationale, which probably has interest of, you know, not to be sound like a conspiracy theorist, but has the interest of, you know, big pharma or someone else that really kind of keeps everything in place. So that’s, that’s my that’s my best deception, my best description of Why, for sure.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So yeah, there’s not like an actual, here’s the science behind why we don’t do this. It’s just kind of been, well, this is the way we’ve always done it, and we will continue to until there’s enough pressure or people find out, or I’m assuming until enough success stories happen. And I’ve been hearing a lot of success stories coming out of Origins. There was a podcast Hughes actually sent me. It may have been you or another gentleman named Dan that had sent me the podcast to listen to, and I gave it the full listen to, and it’s pretty incredible to listen to the outcomes that these patients are having, which has got to be extremely motivating for you guys.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s very powerful. I mean, it’s the purpose. So I think if there’s like two really broad purposes for me, you know, is that one, to help people, that’s, you know, two right is that we can provide enough evidence that can be used to open window you know open access for everybody right because it’s not it’s not super complicated to be honest with you it’s it’s biology treating biology um and that’s really the the essence of it and so you know and the way I feel about it is if you’re if you want everybody should have the, you know, the information. So if you’re a patient that’s gone, you know, kind of thinking about like, should I get surgery or not? You know, and there’s this option here that could probably help you. You know, in some regard, right? Yeah, you should just be aware of it. You can so you can make that decision yourself. That’s just my thoughts on that.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And I know a lot of people sometimes are a little bit nervous when they hear, oh, South America and Central America. It’s funny, because I’ll talk. I recently was talking to somebody about plastic surgery. And as they were talking, I mentioned, yeah, in Colombia, it’s very common. A lot of the plastic surgery tourism is very big. And their face kind of said everything. Now, full disclosure, I am Colombian. So I remember seeing their face like, what? In Colombia? Going in to get surgery? And I was like, you know, it wasn’t until I shared with them, which is the fact that I was very surprised, they have five Jayco accredited hospitals in Colombia, which is the same accreditation body here in the United States. So these are not subpar hospitals. You’re not in an alleyway here. These hospitals are on par with what is being done in the United States.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s that’s that’s that’s very true. The health care delivery, I mean, here in Panama and in Latin America is it’s actually pretty good. You know, I would say that like even for us here, you know, we have a federal, that’s US federal, deemed status organization that we work with to help accredit the laboratory. And that’s the same steps you take in the US. And it’s actually written in the law that you have to seek these deemed status organizations, one or the other, you have to go. And so that’s why people think that it’s kind of like the wild, wild west. Well, okay, it’s the wild, wild west in terms of applying it, right? But when it comes to manufacturing the product and all the safety involved, You have to follow all the rules whether you’re here or you’re in Tennessee. It’s really the same. to do it right. Now that’s to do it right and that’s how we do it here. When we were building this place and all these ideas were coming, we brought folks to certify our clean rooms, we brought the folks from the U.S. here, we flew them here, they did all the certification, so there’s really no difference. There’s no difference of what happens here versus what happens in the United States.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: The quality is the same.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I would say that because we have the support of, you know, being able to operate freely here, in terms of the way that we apply the cells that, you know, you just, like I said, you don’t, you don’t fall in that trap of, of regulatory worry, because you’re, and then that there are no, there’s no black market behavior.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And how do you feel your outcomes are? When you, when you weigh the outcomes, I’m kind of curious, right? Because we knew each other before you had gone and done this project. Was there any doubt in your mind? Like, huh, I wonder if this will work or it should work. Right. And then versus now you’ve been open for roughly about a year, year and a half. Yeah. And so as you go in the year, how have you felt with your expectations versus the outcomes that you’re seeing?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, no, there was for me, of course, as a scientist, I have, you know, I, I only look for evidence there, right? But, you know, this right here, believe it or not, this, this cell line or this, these MSCs, they have so much literature, right? So it’s, you know, it’s decades worth, you can just look back and you know of course if you’re you have to be wise in what you’re reading you know to make sure that it’s uh but you know all the theoretical makes sense and then you take that the theoretical and then you’re looking at okay what other people you know because we’re you know we’re not the first people to do this and when you look at some of the evidence that’s been promoted uh you know that’s uh in the body of knowledge. And so, you know, it’s just like, it’s just like anything. So, you know, going into it, it’s like, okay, well, you know, I, uh, I follow the protocol or the recipe here and we work on everything that’s already evidenced. You know, we’re not, there’s no, there’s not really, I mean, there’s no experimenting here. Right. And so we have a snapshot of what is an expected outcome and all of them are, you know, in, in the realm of positive. Now we, you know, of course we look at what, uh, thing, you know, all the risk, uh, you know, the risk assessment assessments were assessing the risk at appropriate levels to ensure that, you know, and that’s, I think that’s probably if there’s things, I mean, there’s two things that I know that we do better here at origins or what I feel. Um, and that’s what also translates to real, you know, positive outcomes is that of course we follow all the rules of, uh, you know, of, uh, of anything that, you know, for any high potency medication, you know, um, we of course do that. We also spend time and characterization to make sure that there is, that is the exact cell, you know, and there’s nothing different. So we do a lot of work there to make sure that it’s really a pure product. And when the doctors here, they evaluate all the patients, right? They look at, you know, the patient in terms of pathology or what they’re seeking. And then two, they kind of look at all the other risk factors of their, you know, immune system, immunogenicity or tumorigenicity. And then we, you know, really calculate in terms of how dosing these patients, you know, and that’s all based on evidence. And so all of those, I mean, it’s really static. It’s really controlled. And doing that, it’s easy to measure all the way around, all the way through the continuum, and then be able to assess.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So nothing’s really like trailblazing here. These are all practices that have been around and been observed and been recorded and, you know, okay.

JAMES UTLEY: It’s like a really novel, but you know, the reality of it is it’s, it’s not, uh, it’s, it’s just, I think what makes it novel is a supplied correctly here at this location, you know, at this institution. At other places, it’s not. There’s a lot wilder of an application that I’ve seen in this network, which then, you know, so who knows?

DIEGO TRUJILLO: So you really think it’s in the final delivery, the process that you guys are executing that you feel is novel and very different is the deployment of these cells within other people, within patients, correct?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s what happened. I mean, once you’re provided as a dose to a patient, you know, and then so you’re looking at you’re assessing therapeutic gain. So that therapeutic gain is contrasted with what your expectation is. And the expectation is what has been published in the literature. And that’s really it.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And what results have you been seeing in people’s lives as you work with patients?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I think that we’ve been seeing a lot of really positive feedback, you know, there has, we have a population of patients, we call them super responders, which we invest in trying to understand, you know, what what makes a super responder, meaning the phenotype of the patient, whether it’s age, whether it’s, you know, kind of the makeup, if you will, of their immune system, or, you know, what, what, what is it, whether it’s the, you know, the injury or pathology in which we’re seeking to treat. So it’s those, those type of things, right. So, and we get a lot of really great outcomes. Now, we have some, you know, the patients that they, while they’re here, you know, because they’re only here for a snapshot of time, they have, you know, they’ll, they’ll have kind of like an outcome. It’s like, okay, so it’s not as pronounced as we would say, as the patient class of super responder. But then it seems that some weeks to, you know, 90 days or so, they have, they have some, you know, really positive gains. So that’s it, you know, are there patients that are not responsive? Well, it’s hard to say if somebody is non responsive, because we look, we try to observe all these, you know, so we have some biomarkers, you know, all these objective signs. So It’s hard to say that now, when it kind of translates to the subjective or what they’re telling you, like they may not be aware, but the benefit is usually a matter of increments, right? So that’s why we have to be very careful when we measure these to make sure that we’re assessing the baseline and any shift in that baseline.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay, that’s perfect. That gives you some like objective results to be able to say, okay, these were the outcomes and there has been something. But everyone seems to respond at least a little bit,

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, because I mean, paramountly, the product, the product is safe. That’s, that’s what’s paramount, right? So, you know, it’s not meant in the application of like, say, like treating, like a disease for an end state, right? Like, if you’re thinking of it that way, right, because we have this, it’s more of a holistic treatments, biology, treating biology. So you never, I mean, what we don’t see, we don’t see is that, you know, that there’s like, like no gain right it’s just kind of a matter of increment we have to like measure it very closely and we do that for everyone um and some people just they they were in a worse state meaning let’s just give an example of pain they were in a worse state of pain and then they impeded their pain profile so therefore they’re very vocal like oh this is this is uh very beneficial to me um but we still we take that what they tell us and we put it contrast to kind of the objective evidence there to make sure that we have a you know real clear picture.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Well, and that leads me to my next question, which was what is the direction? What do you guys treat? What do you look to do? You know, you mentioned pain right there. Is pain one of the things that you specifically try to treat, like neuropathy? Or how do you guys go about this?

JAMES UTLEY: Well, the application, because there’s actually a really kind of a broad spectrum in terms of application, if we were to break it down into kind of our main one is osteoarthritis, I think that was kind of a point is the primary application is patients with osteoarthritis. Now, of course, the rejuvenation, you know, for in terms of injury, injury recovery, That meaning like helping an injury recover, right? Whichever. Um, that seems to be kind of, um, there’s a lot of athletes, uh, that come here for, for that, you know, kind of speed to recovery.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: What kind of athletes are you talking here?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I mean, I think the majority of them, well, we have all sorts of athletes. But I’d say the majority of them are NFL players. We have kind of come here for some rehab, you know, they have a tough line of work. But we’ve had, you know, cricket players, we’ve had tennis players, you know, kind of the the broad, the gamut of athletes, which I think, if we’re talking in kind of two categories, which is performance, as well as injury recovery, right, you kind of, that’s, there’s a strong application for that, you know, just makes that just makes perfect sense for the, for a cellular therapy, for the cellular therapy. But, you know, autoimmune, there’s a big body of literature that supports the use of MSCs with autoimmune. And then there’s a body of evidence that supports the use of MSCs in autism. And, you know, we have my colleague here, Christian Diaz, Dr. Christian Diaz, He has a lot of experience in that. So you see that there’s kind of a broad application because they really, if we’re, we have to look at like, okay, what do the cells do? They do two things really well. They modulate your immune system or make your immune system do something that is beneficial to you. Um, or they work in, uh, uh, to reducing inflammatory response or the anti-inflammatory nature of it. So, uh, if you have, if you have a pathology or a disease state and, or injury that has those components, then the cells have the high probability of being very beneficial to you.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Okay. So that’s it. So there are certain diseases where you feel a little more confident in the results than others.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, it’s all based on the literature, because it’s not, you know, for us, it says if somebody comes to us with a disease, like sub pathology, that is, I’ll say we’re it’s not so common, right? Then we dig, we do research here, all the physicians here, we do research to make sure that it’s been evidenced somewhere. And that can be globally, that can be, you know, China, you know, and then we kind of look at that, right? And then we bring it to this, we have a group that we bring it to, and we all kind of talk about it and say, hey, is this the right therapy for this patient, et cetera? And we do this on a weekly basis. And then we inform the patient, right? So say, Hey, this is what the literature supports. We have evidence doing this, maybe not exactly what you’re looking for. But we have evidence that, you know, whether it’s trial data, whether it’s some studies, et cetera, this is what now. So now here you go, patient, you can make, uh, uh, the most informed decision as you can. Yeah. But. There’s a lot of patients that we actually don’t treat. We just say, hey, listen, we don’t, either what we’ll do for you won’t, won’t really help where you’re at. So if you have an injury where you’re like, okay, surgery is destined for you, and we’ve evaluated that, then we, you know, we tell you, oh, sorry, we’re not the, we’re not the best place for you because, you know, surgery is the best place.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: What percentage of inquiries do you feel that you guys can’t serve or that you’re having these conversations with?

JAMES UTLEY: I think it kind of ebbs and flows, um, in terms of, um, I think earlier on, we had a lot more complicated cases that, um, that kind of needed some, uh, some guardrails, if you will. Um, but you know, I’d say it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a small, it’s a small percentage now, because I think most of the, most of the folks that, that actually make it, you know, through the, through the evaluation period, they’ve already been there. Uh, they’ve been screened.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah.

JAMES UTLEY: They’ve been screened.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: They’ve been screened appropriately. Is there any that you’re looking forward to, or you’re looking towards kind of trying out new and maybe publishing your own data? Do you guys do any of that research?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah. So publishing our own data, of course we have, uh, we have the preclinical stuff or the in vitro lab stuff. Um, so we have some, we have some studies that are ongoing off in that. uh in that realm um and then of course the there different case studies have been broken up into different cohorts and those those will make it um you know those will be those will be reviewed and hopefully published here I would assume very shortly um I know that there’s uh one organization um they have an annual conference that is very interested in uh having us present so we’re trying to wrap that up but yeah so it’s kind of a a traditional type, I guess, laboratory, uh, research, if you will, there’s that avenue. And then there’s case studies, which is, um, which is a patient, patient centric there.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: How exciting to be a part of this. I can’t imagine the feeling, um, when, when you guys push forward and as you look to publish and kind of, is there ever hopes to bringing this to the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: I hope so. Like that’s the whole goal. I, um, I know that, All the preparation work that we’ve done this far thus far is really to meet that need. Um, which means that we just go through and, uh, all the design and studies and all the research is really based to, uh, build a, you know, build a body of knowledge to then, uh, bring it to the U S. Um, yeah, that’s, that’s the goal.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And if you had to guess how far away are we from that, from bringing that kind of stuff to the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, I get this. But I get this question a lot. I used to be kind of like more definitive on the answer. I would be like, oh, five years, you know, but now I don’t. Now I’m not 100% sure that So I know the end point exists, like it will happen. It’s just how do we get there is a little fuzzy in my mind, which used to be more clear. Now, I think with the progress and to include the stuff that we, the research that we do here around an A, the A cellular product, which is the exosome product from mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs, I think they have probably a better shot of application in the US market, under some regulatory framework, then let’s say mesenchymal stem cells organically by themselves. So I know that’s kind of a, but I think technology is going to outpace. And so we’re just gonna have a different product, it’s going to be the same, it’s just gonna be a different iteration, provide the same benefit, just a little safer, meaning that Acellular products have zero chance of attenuating immune response versus a cellular product that has the has the probability, right? So yeah, I don’t know. It’s a it’s kind of a tough one to go.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: But very interesting. You’re pushing forward anyway.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, first of all, I think for the essence of this podcast, I’ll still say five years.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, right. Okay. Just give us a number. That’s all we wanted, right? You satiated our desire to know. No, it’s very interesting, especially when there’s not a clear marked area. And again, sometimes it’s frustrating to think, I believe it was the percentage, there is a conference that we had here regarding innovation and they were talking, right? When it comes to innovation, some places are really playing catch up, but when you’re that far behind, Um, the curve on innovation, sometimes you’re able to make a leap forward. And so it’s not, it’s not even catching up. You could just full on skip this step of catching up and get ahead of a lot of other people. And so, you know, that’s my hope that we can do that.

JAMES UTLEY: That might just happen. That might just happen. I, uh, I think that might happen. Now, if you were to ask me, kind of when we were a year ago, if you asked me a year ago, I would say that we were behind being like the U S was kind of behind on this. But now I don’t think so. Now I’m interested to see what the future brings.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: That’s fascinating. What do you think is the most exciting part about what the future may bring regarding this technology?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, I mean, of course, you know, I’m a cellular therapy guy, so I’m a cellular therapy nail, and I only see whatever that analogy is. Everything is self-therapy. Yeah, I’m a cellular therapy hammer, only seeing a cellular therapy now. Okay, but with that said, I think as these tools in genetic engineering, they advance me, meaning that in terms of computation and in the world of AI, as that matures, which it’s daily changing, it seems like, that we will have the ability to engineer the cells to provide a function, which in my mind would be secreting exosomes and then being able to harvest those. So I think that’s kind of the future. That’s an exciting future here that we’ll probably realize.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And so you’re hoping within five years to be able to bring this to the United States and ideally, hopefully Las Vegas. I would like to think that if groundbreaking research is being done out of town, you know, there’s a push here in Las Vegas for the life sciences. You know, there’s various collaboratives that are coming together. Um, to look at, you know, whether it’s workforce within the life sciences or just bringing life science companies in general, there’s definitely a focused effort. And so the opportunity to be able to interview you guys, not just for the podcast and not just in regards to life science, but really people that are pushing forward innovation and doing new things. Right. People that, that aren’t willing to just sit on their hands and wait for them to be given the opportunity, but finding a way to be able to execute on this. What percentage of your population would you say come from the United States?

JAMES UTLEY: Oh, in the high 90s, or maybe 95% or so. Yeah, they’re all US.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Americans are interested in these types of treatments. It’s just the regulations that are holding back the delivery of these treatments over there in the United, or over here in the United States.

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, maybe it’s, maybe I’ll ride at 90% of the folks that come here are US clients, or coming from the US, and or Canada. So, but yeah, no, the demand, the demand is, is great. It’s kind of like where, where, where would you like to go? And that’s where, cause you have these, you know, different centers that are located all over the world, whether it’s Dubai or Tijuana or, you know, or even Columbia. Right. So it’s kind of the, where, where, where do they land now? You can argue all day, which one, which one is better. Right. And I think that where I, where I sit, I viewed most of them, and of course, some Google Intel work. I say, okay, I know that what we’re doing is safe, and I know that the way that we characterize our product is unique, not done at other places. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I know that That’s, that is a testament of why the outcomes are, are good.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Right. So how can people find more information on Origins? If they’re interested, they’re listening to this podcast and they’re thinking, huh, can this therapy work for me or for my loved one? Where would they be able to go get more information?

JAMES UTLEY: The website is a great source of, uh, information. Yeah. So it’s like www.origins.com.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: And that is spelled A-U-R-A-G-E-N-S.com, correct?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, that’s the website. I’ve also published some books that you can find wherever books are sold, or I think the easiest way is on Amazon. Then, you know, we have that kind of the words in the name title there, but if you’re to Google, you know, if you put that in the Amazon search, you’d find a And we kind of go over the whole gambit of the different applications, which is, you know, autoimmune for athlete repair, excess home harvest, like kind of everything we talked about here today. Cellular Assurance, that’s my favorite one, but it’s a, that’s around the immunogenicity and tumorogenicity of the product, right? So we wrote those and they’re not, they’re not too super long. There’s parts where they’re pretty technical, but the goal was to make them kind of shorter and not just like this one long reference type book. so that people could use them as they’d like, you know, in the application which they see is fit, and be able to, you know, spread the knowledge all the way.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah, to be able to share. Well, I want to thank you very much for coming on the podcast and sharing. I know you’re, uh, you’re very busy down there. Um, like you mentioned, the hospital’s right next door, so it’s, it must be a constant flow of, uh, extraction and processing. And then the patients that are coming in to get treated. Um, I want to thank you for your time and being able to share with us. Again, I’m very excited. This is technically born out of Las Vegas, even though you guys are not right now in Las Vegas, but I’d love to see you guys. Yeah. Pretty sure. I would love to see you guys be able to make a return and to make an impact and start putting Las Vegas as a city on the map for life sciences.

JAMES UTLEY: Well, I mean, everyone that, uh, you know, this, this endeavor was born, uh, out of Las Vegas. And so all the brain power is, uh, Las Vegas, uh, you know, Las Vegas fueled.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Yeah. Well, it’s fantastic. Well, thank you very much for coming on. Is there anything else you’d like to leave with the listeners today?

JAMES UTLEY: Yeah, thanks for having me, for sure.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: All right. Well, excellent. Thank you very much for coming on. That’s Dr. James Udley coming and speaking to us from Origins down in Panama City, Panama. The website for that, if you’d like some more information, is A-U-R-A-G-E-N-S dot com. That is Origins dot com. And you can find out what treatments they offer, what are the different diseases that they are targeting currently and, you know, maybe even find out a little bit about your situation. It might not be on there, but to be able to find out if there is any possible benefits that you can receive from this treatment. Thanks again, Dr. Utley for joining us today in this conversation and sharing with the Las Vegas community a little bit about what you guys are doing down there.

JAMES UTLEY: Perfect. Thank you.

DIEGO TRUJILLO: Fantastic. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is another episode of The HEALS Pod. We want to thank you for joining us. Stay tuned as we expose all the different and interesting companies, services that are happening here in Las Vegas, and now even abroad, um, as we look to expand into, into what sciences, sciences are being pushed forward here from the Valley. Thank you very much for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you again on The Heels Pod. Have a great day.