Stem Cell Therapy: On the Frontier of Regenerative Medicine
Stem Cell Therapy (SCT), also called Regenerative Medicine, supports the body’s natural healing mechanism and is an exciting new frontier for treatment of a variety of debilitating medical conditions. While SCT is still in its infancy, it has already demonstrated its effectiveness in treating certain medical issues and shows promise for a wide variety of additional applications. As is usual for new and evolving medical treatments and technologies, SCT is also vulnerable to misconceptions and even hype which can create confusion. The prescription for confusion is information but because of the volume and often conflicting nature of information available on SCT, doing due diligence on this topic can be cumbersome. We’re here to help with that by using a Question and Answer format to present some of the basics of SCT. The intent is to assist you in your own research and give you a basis from which to ask questions of your SCT/Regenerative Medicine provider.
QUESTION: What are “Stem Cells”?
ANSWER: Stem cells are unique. They are like parent cells from which all other cells (sometimes called daughter cells) develop into specialized cells such as brain cells, heart cells, bone cells, tissue cells, ligament cells, etc.
QUESTION: Where do stem cells come from?
ANSWER: Young’ stem cells are found and originate in the early stages of growth in tissues like placenta and umbilical cord. ’Adult’ stem cells are cells found in tissues such as bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue.
QUESTION: What exactly is Stem Cell Therapy/Regenerative Medicine and how does it work?
ANSWER: SCT/Regenerative Medicine can be an alternative to surgery or drugs for certain conditions. Stem cells are injected into the body at various points depending on the condition being treated. These Stem cells can migrate to areas needing help and potentially repair damaged organs, tissue, etc. For example, if a joint is damaged, stem cells can be injected into the joint and then these stem cells can “differentiate” into the specific cells needed to help repair that joint. The same process can occur to help repair or regenerate other damaged parts of the body.
QUESTION: What has SCT been used for so far?
ANSWER: Major medical institutions and agencies are conducting numerous SCT clinical trials to explore SCT’s ability to treat conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, blood diseases, etc. Locally, SCT has been primarily used for regenerative treatment of joints and soft tissue.
QUESTION: What are some examples of the uses of SCT outside of clinical trials or laboratories?
- A patient had such severe joint deterioration that he could barely move his knee and was facing surgery to repair the joint. He chose the alternative option of SCT and within 90 days he was pain free and with near 100% mobility in that joint.
- In a study by a major Stem Cell Treatment center on the results of 1825 stem cell procedures for Knee Arthritis, the percentage of patients who reported more than 50% improvement ranged from 42% within one month of treatment to 76% within 48 months of treatment and the mean improvement of all patients was 63%. Again, this improvement was without surgery.
- As we all know, treatment of animals often translates to or has application for treatment for humans. In this instance, a prize racehorse (Princess) was the animal needing help. A major ligament in Princess’s leg was severely injured to the point that Princess couldn’t stand up. Ligaments have a limited blood supply and seldom heal. In the case of Princess, the damaged ligament meant the horse would have to be euthanized. The owner of the horse knew about SCT and arranged for a treatment. In 60 days, the horse’s ligament regrew 72% and only 30 days later was completely regenerated much to the delight of Princess’s owner.