Pro Athletes Turn to Controversial Blood Injections for Chronic Pain Relief


But Regenokine is not without controversy and some skepticism from medical professionals in the U.S. While many American orthopedic surgeons "Nightline" spoke to called the treatment "promising," others said that not nearly enough clinical studies have been done on the treatment in this country to assess its effects and possible side effects.

Dr. Rick Delamarter, a spinal surgeon and vice chair of surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, was leery of Regenokine because there are still too many unanswered questions.

"I always look at it, regardless of the treatment, would I use this on my own mother, would I use it on my brother, my sister," Delamarter said. "And I do want to see more long-term information: Does this give effects five, 10 years down the line? How successful is it? How long does it last? Not only is it what I want to see but the FDA is going to require those things."

The FDA declined to comment on this story and their ultimate ruling on Regenokine could take years. But even without FDA approval, there are now a handful of American doctors in L.A. and New York City, who are using Regenokine "off label," which is legal.

Dr. Christopher Renna, a preventive medicine specialist in Santa Monica, Calif., worked with Wehling to create the Regenokine Treatment Program, which incorporates lifestyle changes, and was the first to offer the Regenokine treatment in the United States. The two doctors also co-wrote a book called "The End of Pain" about the benefits of Regenokine.

Dr. Edward Capla and Dr. Doug Schottenstein, both with New York SportsMed in New York City, began administering the treatment last year. Capla treated McGrady for back pain during this year's All-Star game break in February.

Nonetheless, Tracy McGrady said Regenokine kept him on the court.

"Had I not done that procedure, there's no way I would have continued playing in the NBA," he said. "There's no way."

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