Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy can be used to treat many autoimmune, inflammatory & orthopedic conditions. Depending on the type of stem cells, their effectiveness and safety will vary.
Researchers grow stem cells in the lab and coax them into becoming specialized cell types to replace damaged or diseased tissue. This is known as regenerative medicine.
In the case of stem cell therapy, doctors use a patient’s own stem cells to treat their specific disease or injury. Stem cells can be concentrated to work as “unspecialized” cells that repair tissue damage throughout the body, or they can be concentrated to have a more specific function.
For example, doctors have been performing blood-forming stem cell transplants (also called bone marrow transplants) for over 40 years to help patients with leukemia and other cancers of the blood. Hematopoietic stem cells, which are found in the bone marrow and blood, are also being used to treat certain other conditions, including inherited blood disorders and some solid tumors.
Another form of stem cell treatment is mesenchymal stem cells, which are harvested from adipose tissue, bone marrow or umbilical cord tissue and grown in the laboratory. These cells can differentiate into specialized cells like cartilage, muscle, tendon/ligament and bone, and they can help reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system to decrease the risk of rejection.
Stem cells can be grown to create specialized cells that treat specific parts of the body. These new cells can replace damaged ones and restore healthy tissue.
Stem cell therapy can help you recover from an injury or disease by reducing pain and inflammation and healing the tissue that was damaged. It can also prevent the spread of cancer in people who have leukemia or lymphoma.
Scientists are studying ways to make stem cells become specialized cells that can cure diseases. They’re also researching how to get those cells to integrate into a patient’s body and not be rejected.
Because the field of stem cell treatment is so specialized, it’s not widely available. Many companies offer stem cell treatments, but only a few have reputable doctors, labs that process the stem cells and clinics where they’re used. Some of these stem cell treatments are unproven and expensive. Others are completely useless and dangerous. Only choose a clinic that has a physician that is highly trained in this area of medicine.
Stem cells are the building blocks of the body and create specialized cells that form organs, blood, bone and other tissues. They are also part of the self-healing process, releasing beneficial substances that promote cell growth and repair damaged tissue.
Stem cell transplantation is effective in treating some blood cancers, solid tumors and certain other conditions. It is still in a clinical trial stage, however, and has not been proven to work for all conditions.
The FDA has approved only a few stem cell-based therapies and none have been proved to treat all diseases or conditions. Unproven stem cell treatments can result in serious complications such as severe bacterial infection and immune system rejection of the transplanted cells, which leads to graft failure. These complications may be life-threatening. A reputable clinic should only offer stem cell therapy that has been ethically sourced, viable and regulated. The clinic should also have a physician who is experienced in performing this treatment.
The path to treating a disease with stem cells can be long. Scientists must first create the cell type they think may help treat a disease, grow them in a lab to see whether they work, then implant them in an animal to test for safety. This process often takes years.
Stem cells promote healing by telling healthy cells to multiply and create new tissue, as well as transforming themselves into other types of cells that are better suited for the task at hand. For example, stem cells can help heal severe knee injuries by regenerating new cartilage.
Doctors use stem cells derived from bone marrow or blood in transplant procedures to treat diseases of the blood and immune system. These are regulated by the FDA and typically require patients to undergo thorough, controlled human studies, called clinical trials. However, some clinics offer unregulated stem cell products and make claims about their benefits that are not supported by scientific evidence.