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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the concerns in trading for Andrew Bynum is his history of knee problems. In September, he will go to Germany to have a procedure to help ease those concerns.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Bynum will see Dr. Peter Wehling to have a procedure called Orthokine/Regenokine. It’s the same procedure that Kobe Bryant had to help his ailing knees. The report says that Bynum is not having any knee pain, and this is purely a preventative procedure.
This isn’t surprising, as Bynum told the press in May that he’d be having the procedure.
The report calls the procedure “non-invasive,” though the therapy would officially be classified as “minimally invasive.”
Here’s how the procedure works:
Orthokine therapy was designed by Dr. Peter Wehling of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has treated numerous influential figures including Pope John Paul III (guess the holy powers didn’t work to well here). Dr. Wehling has reported a 90% success rate for the procedure, and proclaims it is a long term cure to inflammation and its resulting pain. To ESPN he reported “I am the only one to have found a way to cure arthritis.” Along with his clinic in Germany, Wehling has also opened an outpost in Los Angeles, where he deals with ”a very small and exclusive clientele.”
The therapy focuses primarily on Interleukin-1. IL-1 plays a part in a wide variety of metabolic processes, specifically in immune and inflammatory response. IL-1 binds to specific cytokine receptors to induce inflammation. It is also known to play a role in disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, and the breakdown of the cartilage in joints. Thus the doctor’s focus was to stop this receptor mediated pathway via an antagonist protein. IL-1RA was that antagonist. The protein is produced by white blood cells (monocytes) and blocks Il-1 from binding to its receptor to significantly reduce inflammation. In Dr. Wehlings procedure blood is drawn from the arm by a special syringe in which glass beads induce monocytes to increase the growth of Il-1RA by up to 30x. The solution is placed in an incubator to further induce protein synthesis and the final solution is centrifuged so that the serum of interest may be separated. The final solution is injected into the area of interest, and it seems to be working pretty well, at least for Kobe Bryant.
As Matt Moore of CBS Sports notes, it would be great if Bynum could have the procedure sooner than September, but the reason for waiting isn’t known.