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Q. Is it advisable to use stem cells to grow taller?

Answered by
Dr. Kashif Mahmood Qureshi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 24, 2019

Hello doctor,

I want, prior to anything, thank you for the time you are going to take to answer this question. I have been told by my basketball coach, in order to grow taller, to undergo the following kind of intervention, but my question is, where and how to undertake such a procedure.

This is the procedure:

Lase the legs' growth plates to zap them away, and then inject treated stem cells from new growth plates in their place. These then respond to cytokine (chemicals) from genetic engineering, that cause growth. And I have been told that I can avoid acromegaly by having the new stem cells only responding to a unique chemical variation of human growth hormone that has no effect on other than engineering new growth plates. So, how and where can I do this?

Dr. Kashif Mahmood Qureshi

Family Physician General Surgery


Welcome to

Stem cell transplantation is a highly specialized procedure and is generally done for specific indications. Almost all such procedures are conducted by the Surgical Oncology Teams (Specialized Cancer Hospitals). Stem cell tranplantation are generally done in patients with hematological malignancies after total body irradiation so that their bodies can generate new blood cells from the transplanted stem cells. Recently, it is also being used for advanced organ failure but such use remains experimental and is limited to research centers.

Having said that, let us come to your particular case. Well in all honesty even if such a treatment is contemplated; it would be totally against current guidelines and ethical norms and probably no one will be willing to do such a procedure in your particular scenario. It has been done for increasing height in children suffering from blood cancers following total body irradiation but other than that absolutely no other indication. That too has been done at research centers with mixed results.

With regards to your questions. It is extremely unlikely if not impossible that you will find anyone offering such treatment anywhere across the globe, legally. Yes, the last word is important as many things happen in shady markets but then all those procedures are illegal, unethical and should not be done. The suggested treatment is absurd, highly questionable and unethical is all respects. Additionally you should also know that Stem Cell Transplant is a transplant and it has serious potential for life threatening complications. Just to name a few, infections, bleeding, acute and chronic rejection, graft vs host disease and so on. The million dollar question is not that where you can get this done; the question is whether you should even think about it and the answer is an "absolutely not recommended". Take care.

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Thank you so much for your answer.

But I still have one question :

Is it possible to lase some growth plates to zap them away? How could I undertake it and where? Thank you again

Dr. Kashif Mahmood Qureshi

Family Physician General Surgery
# Dear Arthur,

Sorry for being blunt but it's not possible in your case and no doctor is his sane mind would agree doing such a procedure except in the shady markets e.g. people do illegal kidney transplants and so on. The nature of the procedure is such that even if someone would like to do it for money they wont be able to do it due to technical limitations and even if it were technically possible it would cost a fortune.

A regular autologous BMT costs around 30-35 thousand USD just for the procedure and goes around 50K with ancillary treatments.

The suggested procedure involves genetic "reverse engineering" followed by "cell programming".. in simpler terms take stem cell.. do a reverse growth to reach the primitive / primordial stage then reprogramme the DNA so that the said stem cells would grow into chondrocytes and not into blood cells. This additional pathway is pretty complex and cost almost 8-10 times the cost of actual stem cell transplant. And for obvious reasons the availability of such options outside government approved research projects is impossible.

As a senior medical professional with more than 22 years of experience I would strongly suggest that you stay away from any such misadventure.

If I were you, I would report your coach to local administration for suggesting a potentially harmful procedure and failing to protect the interest of kids under his care.

Take Care.

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