Common Stem Cell Therapy Myths Debunked - Stem Cell Centers, Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy

Common Stem Cell Therapy Myths Debunked

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There is much excitement surrounding the potential of stem cells to cure disease because of their unique abilities to restore degenerated tissue while reducing pain symptoms. The growth factors in stem cells may replace damaged cells in your body. Another added benefit is that stem cell injections contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates joints and tendons, reducing pain and working to restore mobility. With this excitement there exists an excessive amount of skepticism for the field of regenerative medicine. There is much misinformation out there regarding the emerging science behind stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine.  In an effort to debunk some of these common myths that can damage the goals of this research and development, it is important to provide accurate education to the patient community on this developing science. In this article, we will explore the most common stem cell therapy myths and give you the correct information. Schedule a free consultation with one of our medical providers can help you gain the answers you need and help you find out if stem cell therapy is for you.

Some of the most common stem cell therapy myths out there are:

  • Stem cells are only harvested from embryos
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) eliminate the need for embryonic cells
  • Stem cell research is going to lead to cloning humans
  • Adult stem cells are found in adults only
  • Stem cell research and treatment is against the law in the U.S.
  • Stem cell therapy runs the risk of rejection by the body
  • Bone marrow is the best source for stem cells

Myth 1: Stem Cells Are Only Harvested from Embryos

Answer: False.  Actually, stem cells reside in every part of your body. While it is true that stem cells can be drawn from embryos, they are also found in abundance throughout the body from muscles, tissues, organs, bone marrow and fat. Embryonic stem cells garnish more attention than most types of stem cells because they are unique. Embryonic stem cells have the potential to produce all 220 specialized cells in the body. Because of this rare potential, embryonic stem cells are often linked to stem cell research. But, stem cell research and stem cell therapies offer several different types of stem cells for treatment that do NOT use embryonic stem cells.  For some, this is important to note because there are some ethical concerns associated with the use of embryonic stem cells for research and treatment.

Myth 2: Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Eliminate the Need for Embryonic Cells

Answer: False. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are engineered by scientists in a laboratory from specialized cells (like from the skin) that have shared qualities to those of embryonic stem cells.  Research is still needed to for scientists to be able to conclude which types of stem cells will be most effective for each situation.

Myth 3: Stem Cell Research is Going to Lead to Cloning Humans

Answer: False. Not surprisingly, there are many who are concerned with the power of stem cells getting out of hand, or leading our society to places that we shouldn’t go.  Luckily, the ethics of society are strongly intertwined with the advancements of society and help keep science in check. Cloning of human beings is illegal. The only kind of cloning that is allowed in some countries is therapeutic cloning for the purpose of studying disease. In this type of cloning, scientists separate embryonic stem cells from a cloned blastocyst (early-stage embryo) but do NOT transfer the blastocyst into a womb. The potential uses of therapeutic cloning may involve organ transplantation. Therapeutic cloning would allow generating cells that are an exact patient match.  A patient could then benefit from a transplant of these cells to that they wouldn’t run the risk of transplant rejection. It is also important to note that to date, no human embryonic stem cell lines have been produced using therapeutic cloning.

Myth 4: Adult Stem Cells are Found in Adults Only

Answer: False. Adult stem cells are also called tissue-specific stem cells or somatic stem cells. This type of stem cell materializes during fetal development and remains in the body throughout your life. Babies have adult stem cells. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to repair and maintain the tissue in which they reside.

Myth 5: Stem Cell Research and Treatment is Against the Law in the U.S.

Answer: False. As long as scientists and doctors follow the guidelines established by the United States government and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stem cell research and therapy is legal under the law. It is important to note that although embryonic stem cell research and therapies are not illegal, many clinics use stem cell therapies which do not create the ethical issues that are related to embryonic stem cell use and research.

Stem cells have been used in medicine since the 1950’s when bone marrow transplants were first used to treat leukemia. In 2000, the NIH released guidelines for research on embryonic stem cells stipulating that:

  • Human embryonic stem cells must be derived with private funds from frozen embryos from fertility clinics;
  • That they must have been created for fertility treatment purposes;
  • That they be in excess of the donor’s clinical need; and
  • That they be obtained with consent of the donor.

In 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act which includes provisions for regulatory review of regenerative therapies, including cell therapies enabled by stem cell therapy research.

Myth 6: All Stem Cell Therapy Runs the Risk of Rejection By the Body

Answer: False. Amniotic Stem Cells carry no threat of patient rejection.  Amniotic stem cell therapy uses cells that come from an immunoprivileged site making patient-rejection extremely rare. The use of amniotic stem cells is well researched, safe, and effective and has been incorporated in the treatment protocols of ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons for 20 years.  There is also a amniotic stem cell donor screening process which was determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) to ensure that the cells used in treatment are safe.  Certain types of stem cells and procedures, a person’s immune system may recognize the transplanted cells as foreign bodies triggering an immune reaction that results in the rejection of the transplanted cells. To avoid this, strong immunosuppressive drugs have shown to help reduce rejection.

Myth 7: Bone Marrow is the Best Source for Stem Cells

Answer: False. Stem cells come from a variety of sources including blood, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and adipose tissue. Amniotic fluid is another vital source of the regenerative type of stem cells that have the ability to divide, differentiate and encourage healing of various body tissues. Known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor properties amniotic derived stem cells are readily accessible and absent of controversial issues regarding their harvesting and application.

Are You a Candidate?

If chronic knee, back, hip, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis, arthritis or other joint pain is limiting your daily routine or preventing you from activities you enjoy; regenerative stem cell therapy may be the answer you’ve been looking for!

Regenerative stem cell therapy may offer, long-term relief for people that are suffering from joint pain, arthritis, and neuropathy. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes with minimal pain. Contact us today to find out if regenerative medicine may be right for you.

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