FAQ’s on Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapies
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells make up our tissues and organs. They are highly specialized and are available throughout the body. They have the ability to replicate and differentiate which means that they can multiply and mimic various tissues and cells in the body.
Different stem cell therapies utilize different stem cells and there are different types. The types are categorized by their sources and one of the most common and controversial stem cells is embryonic stem cells. These stem cells are sourced from embryos which are between three and five days old. These are NOT used at R3 Centers.
There are also adult stem cells which are derived from various adult tissues such as adipose tissues or the bone marrow. These stem cells tend to have limited abilities when compared to embryonic stem cells. That said; they are quite useful, particularly bone marrow derived stem cells which are used in various cancerous treatments.
Induced pluripotent stem cells are adult stem cells which have embryonic stem cell properties. These are genetically reprogrammed stem cells. Perinatal stem cells are found in the amniotic fluid and they are usually harvested during child birth.
What Conditions and Diseases Can Be Treated with Stem Cell Therapies?
Stem cells can treat a wide array of diseases and a good example is skin derived stem cells which have been widely used in grafting on patients suffering from severe burns. That said, most stem cell therapies are still in their clinical stages but that doesn’t mean they are nor effective or safe. It’s widely known that stem cells have regenerative properties and as such they have been used to treat various damaged tissues and organs in the body.
These include the skin, heart, pancreas, liver, cornea, spinal cord, ligaments, tendons, disc, cartilage and bones just to mention a few. Bone marrow derived stem cells are used in treating conditions such as leukemia and cancer while fat tissue stem cells have been used in aesthetic medicine. Different stem cells are currently used in various treatments and these range from systemic disease to musculoskeletal to neurologic, cardiac, cosmetic.
How Do Stem Cell Therapies Work?
Stem cells have the ability to transform into new tissue and as such they are used in regenerative treatments. They are introduced into the body to replace the diseased cells by regenerating healthy cells and consequently help in repairing the damaged tissues and organs. Damaged tissue may be as a result of aging, trauma or diseases and the goal o stem cell therapy is to see to it that these organs restore their function or at least improve.
How Effective Are Stem Cell Therapies?
Most these stem cell therapies are in their clinical stages however, it is safe to say that stem cells are changing the face of medicine. They have effectively treated many patients particularly people suffering from cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, burns and other conditions that are ideally difficult to manage such as Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are still continuing to study the different stem cells and their potential applications in regenerative medicine and body tissue repair.