Stem Cell Therapy - Fact or Fiction?

Posted by beauty33 on February 20th, 2020

During the last few years, remarkable progress has been made in stem cell therapy, which leads to the flourishing of stem cell clinics claiming they can heal a number of diseases with stem cell therapy. However, FDA says it's unproven and is working to regulate them.

The past few years has seen so many for-profit stem cell clinics popping up around the United States, advertising that they can treat everything from arthritis to Alzheimer’s just by several injections with each one costing ,000 to ,000. However, cases have shown that patients of these clinics have developed tumors, suffered infections and even sight loss after unapproved procedures. 

So, is stem cell therapy an effective treatment or just false hope? Some information is necessary for those who are curious about stem cell therapy.

l What is stem cell therapy?

Just like the stem of a plant will produce branches, leaves, and flowers, stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can produce several different kinds of cells. They originate from two main sources: adult body tissues including bone marrow, blood and blood vessels, skeletal muscles, etc. and embryos in which stem cells can differentiate into more cell types than adult stem cells.

Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, is the use of stem cells to help patients’ bodies repair damaged tissue by intravenous or intramuscular injection.

l What types of diseases does stem cell therapy work for?

Theoretically, any condition in which there is tissue degeneration can be a potential candidate for stem cell therapies given that they can produce all kinds of cells.

However, up to now, the use of stem cell therapy is quite limited. For the last 50 years or so, there have been patients successfully treated with hematopoietic stem cells, commonly known as bone marrow transplants. This remains the prototype for how stem cell therapy can work.  

New clinical applications for stem cells are currently being tested therapeutically for the treatment of musculoskeletal abnormalities, cardiac disease, liver disease, autoimmune and metabolic disorders and other advanced cancers. However, these new therapies have been offered only to a very limited number of patients and are experimental rather than in standard practice. 

l What are the advantages of stem cell therapy?

A common problem of transplantation is the risk of transplant rejection. Using autologous stem cell therapy, this risk can be avoided. What’s more, there is also no risk of communicable disease transmission.

Stem cell transplantation is usually by infusion or injection instead of complicated surgeries; thus, patients needn’t worry about scars, complications or the side effect of general anesthesia.

“In 2012, professor Shinya Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, which shows greater potential of stem cells to help us understand and treat a wide range of diseases, injuries and other health-related conditions.” Said a senior scientist in Creative Biolabs, a leading company providing stem cell therapy development services.

However, their current applications as treatments are sometimes exaggerated by “clinics” looking to capitalize on the hype by selling treatments to chronically ill or seriously injured patients, and there is still a lot to explore about how they work in the body and their capacity for healing.

With the continuous development of technology, stem cells will trigger a medical revolution, becoming the third treatment method after drugs and surgery. A series of diseases and injuries that are difficult to treat now will eventually be gradually rescued.

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