Kenneth Pettine

Let your brain just think free of outside thoughts of the past or future. Spend time in the NOW.


Dr. Kenneth Pettine, trademarked the phrase, “Friends don’t let friends get fused,” founded The Rocky Mountain Associates in Orthopedic Medicine in 1991 to ensure his patients have non-fusion surgical options. He has the only two issued U.S. patents for performing stem cell joint and spine injections and six patents pending for additional stem cell applications.

Dr. Pettine has recently retired from orthopedic surgery, after 31 years, to concentrate all of his efforts on stem cell research. His mission statement is: “I am passionate to change the practice of orthopedics and spine with Stem Cell therapy”.

He is the principal investigator for 18 FDA studies involving non-fusion implants, biologics, and stem cells. He is a pioneer in spinal stem cell therapy. Dr. Pettine has published more peer reviewed clinical research papers on the clinical results of bone marrow concentrate than any orthopedic surgeon in the U.S.

He has been featured as one of the top 50 Spine and Specialist Surgeons to Know in America, and is the recipient of numerous honors, a distinguished speaker at national and international symposiums, and the author of more than 40 research publications.

He co-invented the FDA-approved Prestige™ cervical artificial disc, and the Maverick Artificial Disc™.
Dr. Pettine has an extensive background in spinal surgery, research, and rehabilitation. He has been board certified by the Board of Orthopedic Surgeons and has been a member of numerous organizations, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, the International Spinal Injection Society, and The Society for Ambulatory Spine Surgery, which he co-founded in 2011. He received his spine fellowship training at the Institute for Low Back Care in Minneapolis. Dr. Pettine completed his residency and his master’s degree in orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

His past appointments include: Staff Orthopedic Surgeon and Chief of the Sports Medicine Clinic at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Georgia; Associate Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Georgia; and Visiting Consultant at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Augusta, GA.

Where did the idea for Paisley Laboratories come from?

I have always been very involved in clinical research. I’m the principal investigator for 18 FDA IDE studies. Each of these studies typically cost $60-$80 million. All of these studies involved the evaluation of non-fusion spine implants. Examples would be an artificial disc in the lumbar or cervical spine. Because of my involvement in all these studies a company came to me approximately eight years ago (ISTO) to perform the first FDA biologic study ever done on humans in the United States. Myself and another surgeon injected 20 patients with juvenile cartilage cells instead of performing a lumbar fusion. The results were surprisingly excellent (Published in the Journal of Neurosurgery). Because of that experience I began to treat my patient’s orthopedic and spine problems by harvesting and concentrating their bone marrow in order to unleash the power of the patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells in an attempt to avoid surgery. I have published more peer-reviewed clinical outcome papers than anyone in the United States on the results of injecting arthritic joints in the spine utilizing your own mesenchymal stem cells. This vast experience encouraged me to further my research and obtain several patents. Being on the cutting-edge of stem cell regenerative medicine research has allowed me to discover the next generation of regenerative medicine treatments. This is represented in the development of Paisley Laboratories. I had a vision going from where we currently are utilizing living cells to developing acellular regenerative medicine products and procedures which represent the future. I collaborated with Dr. Tim Mosley to create Paisley Laboratories. Together we have filed numerous patents representing this breakthrough technology. These acellular stem cell technologies have the opportunity of literally changing the world of orthopedics and spine, replacing opioids for the treatment of pain and developing revolutionary skin care products. We are extremely excited about the future of Paisley Laboratories.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day begins early utilizing my beloved computer to research the latest information on exosomes. Exosomes represent the future of cancer treatment and is the core of Paisley Laboratories focus on using exosome to treat orthopedics, spine, pain and skin care. Our goal is to help people avoid surgery, opioid addiction and aging skin. We are currently developing two laboratories for the production of the Paisley Laboratory acellular regenerative medicine products. One laboratory is in California and one in Florida. This keeps us extremely busy.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I seem to do my most innovative thinking between the hours of three and five in the morning. I have a notepad next to the bed and immediately write down ideas as they pop into my brain.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am 100% convinced that stem cell therapy will change the practice of medicine. I also believe the technology represented by Paisley Laboratories is making the future of the clinical application of stem cells to occur now. My goal and passion is to change the world for the better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think my greatest strength is always keeping an open mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. I always try to be an eclectic.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would probably tell myself to work smarter not harder. Being a spine surgeon can become all engrossing.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I am a soft determinist. I believe about 90% of our decisions are predetermined and we have about 10% free will.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Surround yourself with the talent that you lack. My strengths are science, not business.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

In my field of stem cell science the only way to obtain adequate capital in order to turn an idea into reality is the value of intellectual property. The scientist must concentrate all his efforts to create intellectual property.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have twice surrounded myself with what I thought was business talent but turned out not to have the business capability of creating a commercial reality from a brilliant idea.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Start a company that utilizes the recent development of liquid Kevlar. Develop products that make especially women and children more safe at home and school.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best money I have recently spent is to help financially support a pre- medical college student to help me as a research assistant. Together we have published several papers. He is a computer whiz, which has made my ability to communicate the concept of Paisley Laboratories successful.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

For me it is the ability to have access to so much scientific literature available on the internet. Simple but true. I use it to answer scientific questions and stay up to date on new knowledge in the field of stem cell regenerative medicine.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Any book that has to do with human history provides insight into how to avoid many of our current problems.

What is your favorite quote?

Einstein said “innovative spirits have always met violent opposition from mediocre minds”. This is SO profound!

Key learnings:

  • Spend time every day in what you might call mindfulness. Let your brain just think free of outside thoughts of the past or future. Spend time in the NOW. For me this happens most often early in the morning.
  • Make lists of action items to be accomplished every day. Prioritize these and stay focused.
  • Ask questions about anything you don’t understand and get the answers.
  • For me, writing scientific papers is the best way to learn new knowledge and remember what I have learned. It also motivates me to stay up to date.