STEM CELL THERAPY
Stem Cells Therapy
Most human tissues do not regenerate spontaneously, explaining why “regenerative medicine engineering” represents today promising alternative treatments. The principle is simple: cells are collected and introduced with or without modification of their biological properties into the injured tissue or in a porous 3D material where they are maintained in an environment in which physicochemical and mechanical parameters are kept stable. After reaching their maturity, these tissues or cells can be grafted. Among the main middle-term therapeutic applications, cardiac insufficiency, blood vessels, osteoarthritis, diabetes, liver diseases, bladder, skin, etc., could be considered. This concept of regenerative medicine is an emerging multidisciplinary field involving medicine, biology, chemistry, mechanics and engineering to revolutionize the way “to improve the health and quality of life by restoring, maintaining or enhancing tissue and organs functions”.
However, speculations over the implications of stem cells and their applications are likely to be wide of the mark. Many of the private practitioners are claiming to attain a complete miracle after stem cells treatment. It is very important to understand the difference between the possibility, feasibility and efficacy.
Currently Bone Marrow and Adipose tissues are known to be the most accessible, potent and approved sources available. This can be easily exploited for treating variety of diseases.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have received much attention during the las two decades, at first because of their regeneration capacity to treat a broad range of human diseases.
More recently, MSCs have been isolated from many other tissues including adipose tissue, umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord Wharton´s jelly, synovial membrane and tooth pulp.
Actually the most common uses of Stem Cell Therapy are to help patients who suffer from a variety of orthopaedic conditions, including arthritis, spinal disc degeneration, tendinitis and torn ligaments. It is possible to heal and restore tissues that are partially damaged or torn, but until now, Stem Cells cannot create totally new tissue in a body part where none exists or existed previously. We cannot grow a new meniscus in the knee if the patient´s meniscus is totally worn away.
Frequent Questions (Stem Cells)
What is a cell?
Cells are the structural and functional units of all living organisms. Humans have an estimated 100,000,000,000,000 (one hundred trillion) cells and more than 200 different types of cells (liver cells, skin cells, muscle cells, etc.)
What is a stem cell?
Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. They can divide without limit to replenish other cells, serving as a sort of repair system for the body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.
How do embryonic stem cells, somatic stem cells, and cord blood stem cells differ?
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are derived from the embryo and have the potential to become all the different cell types of the body (pluripotency). Somatic stem cells, sometimes called adult stem cells, are found in organs or tissues, can self-renew and yield the differentiated cell types comprising that organ or tissue (multipotency), and are important for maintenance and repair of the organ or tissue. Cord blood stem cells can be isolated from the umbilical cord of newborn infants and are less mature than adult stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are a type of somatic stem cell. Somatic stem cells are restricted in the types of cells they can produce in the lab.
How are stem cells currently used to treat disease?
Somatic stem cells, such as blood-forming stem cells in bone marrow (called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs), are currently the only type of stem cell commonly used to treat human diseases. Doctors have been transferring HSCs in bone marrow transplants for over 40 years. More advanced techniques for collecting, or "harvesting," HSCs are now used in order to treat leukemia, lymphoma and several inherited blood disorders. The clinical potential of somatic stem cells has also been demonstrated in the treatment of other human diseases that include diabetes and advanced kidney cancer. However, these newer uses involved studies with a very limited number of patients.