Although stem cells are being used to treat many diseases, can they treat all medical conditions? Scientists have gotten insights into several diseases, injuries, and other medical conditions, their causes, and novel ways to treat them by studying stem cells. Read on to learn about stem cells, stem cell therapy as a regenerative medicine method, and the actual areas where stem cell therapy can be applied.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
A simple stem cell therapy definition is a type of regenerative medicine that uses stem cells to repair tissues due to replenishing and maintaining cells in the body. Stem cells carry out this function by replenishing injured cells and stimulating the production of new cells. Their other capacity is to reduce inflammation. Stem cells have these beneficial functions because of their unique biological properties.
Stem cells are cells with the remarkable ability to produce other types of body cells. They can divide into copies of themselves or cells with the specialized function of a tissue, such as bone cells, neurons or muscle cells.
Stem cells are employed for stem cell therapy because they can be manipulated to evolve into the desired cell type. Stem cells are gotten from different locations in the body, including the bone marrow, umbilical cord, and placenta. They can also be gotten by using stem cell technology to convert an adult body cell to a stem cell. This innovative discovery is the basis of stem cell therapy success in recent years.
Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy bears a lot of advantages. It offers many medical benefits, especially in the area of regenerative medicine, but not without a few cons! Some of them are outlined in the sections below.
Pros of Stem Cell Therapy
- Stem cells are quite accessible and can be gotten via both invasive and non-invasive means.
- Stem cell therapy helps to maintain tissue integrity and improve muscle and joint functions.
- It reduces damage to nerves and helps to replenish cells in a damaged organ.
- When stem cells to be injected during the therapy procedure are gotten directly from the patient, the possibility of the body rejecting the cells is reduced.
- Stem cells may alleviate chronic pain without getting prescription pills or surgery.
- It carries a lot of potential for getting cures for several chronic and hard-to-treat health conditions.
- The future of stem cell research holds the possibility of potential drug testing on a cell culture instead of testing using live animals and humans.
- Stem cells help scientists understand diseases and how to cure them.
Cons of Stem Cell Therapy
- Some types of stem cells (embryonic and fetal) are likely to form tumors because they may tend to uncontrolled reproduction.
- There is the likelihood of the body rejecting the injected stem cells.
- The long-term side effects of stem cell therapy are still unknown.
- Adult stem cells can only produce cells of the tissue or organ that they are formed.
- The use of embryonic stem cells is unaccepted by the laws of many nations and religions. This is due to the fact that this type of stem cell can only be gotten when the embryo — which is seen as the conception of life — has been broken down.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy For?
Stem cell therapy has been utilized to treat different conditions such as autoimmune, orthopedic, neurological, inflammatory conditions, sport-related injuries, spinal cord injuries, and some other health conditions.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been researched and found to hold great potential for stem cell therapies. Mesenchymal stem cells were described as having no significant ethical concern and no severe side effects or adverse reactions, promoting their use in regenerative medicine.
The use of MSCs for stem cell therapy is due to their self-renewal ability, anti-inflammatory properties, and immunomodulatory functions.
Stem cell therapy does not automatically provide a cure for health conditions; instead, it stimulates the natural healing process of the body, allowing the body to heal itself in a way that mitigates the symptoms of the condition for extended periods.
Many times, the result of cell-based treatment can completely reverse the symptoms; other times, its effects delay disease progression; both results have contributed substantially to improving the quality of life for the patients.
How to Choose a Stem Cell Therapy Center?
Stem cell therapy is a good option to consider as it has many beneficial effects. Several clinics offer stem cell therapy for back pain, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injuries, inflammatory conditions, multiple sclerosis, lung diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, and so on. This procedure is usually non-surgical, minimally invasive, safe, and effective, with only a few mild adverse effects that can be recorded in some patients.
So what should you assess when choosing a stem cell therapy center?
- You want to ensure that the stem cell center is accredited and licensed to perform stem cell therapy. A licensed medical doctor must operate the center, and an experienced board-certified physician must perform the procedure.
- Check for qualification and experience of the staff to be sure they are certified to carry out stem cell therapy.
- Check the pricing and package; some clinics offer stem cells optionally. So, get to know what is included and not included in the treatment program.
- Read or watch trusted patient reviews on stem cell therapy from various online platforms.
- Evaluate if the medical facilities are up to date with the latest innovation in the medical world.
- Be sure to confirm if your country allows treatment with stem cells; it is illegal in some countries and heavily regulated.
- Please get to know the stem cells that the clinic administers during the treatment and learn about their source. Getting therapy with the wrong type of stem cell can be very damaging to your health, so find out what they’re offering.
Stem cell therapy is a treatment based on the ability of stem cells to stimulate the natural healing process of the body. There is a number of areas of applying this kind of treatment. It is effective for many medical conditions; although it is very beneficial, it does have some cons.
The best way to choose a stem cell therapy center is to check for facts such as license, experience, state of the medical facilities, price, patient reviews, source of stem cells, and what services are included in the clinic’s package. What else would you check for before choosing a stem cell therapy center? Let us know in the comments.