Stem cell therapy has recently garnished attention in the media because of the success it is having both nationally and internationally–in and out of the lab–but stem cells have been used by surgeons and doctors for more than 20 years. Plastic surgeons and ophthalmologists have used them for different procedures with success. As a matter of fact, more than 10,000 injections have been performed in the US without a single reported adverse side effect. Amniotic fluid stem cells have more recently been isolated. They represent a type of pluripotent stem cells with intermediate characteristics between embryonic and adult stem cells, since they are able to differentiate into lineages representative of all three cellular germ layers. Amniotic stem cells were first isolated from amniotic fluid in 2007. In 2010, researchers converted amniotic fluid cells into pluripotent stem cells, which are similar to embryonic stem cells their abilities. In 2006, induced pluripotent cells were discovered which also provide the abilities of embryonic stem cells, but without the ethical concerns.
Stem cells can change into any type of tissue found in joints including cartilage, ligament, tendon, bone or muscle. (The only tissue they can’t become is nerve tissue.) These capabilities makes stem cell therapy a curative treatment option–once your joint is healed it’s healed. The oldest research to date shows that 100 percent of stem cell therapy recipients were still pain free four years later.
Current stem cell therapies offered are well-researched, safe and effective. Some stem cell therapies are preferred over others because patient rejection is extremely rare. Using neutral stem cells that contain no DNA, make them a match for everyone and you can’t contract anything from the donor. Stem cell donors go through a rigorous screening process, as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Immunorejection drugs are often prescribed during treatment to help patients succeed with their therapy if the stem cell source is not their own. More and more stem cell applications will become available after they have passed through the research and development stage–the future looks bright!
According to the National Institute of Health, “Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases including macular degeneration, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.” The excitement around stem cells is their potential for treating common diseases like diabetes and heart disease because of their regenerative abilities.
Stem cell therapy leverages your body’s ability to repair and heal itself. With most stem cell therapies today, your doctor will inject stem cells from amniotic tissues or a donor source into your body. (Not unlike receiving a cortisone or steroid shots). Stem cell injections have anti-inflammatory properties, and offering you even more benefits than your standard injection therapies. Cortisone and other drugs can provide you with temporary pain relief, but stem cells actually restore your degenerated tissue WHILE providing pain relief. Following an injection, stem cells remain in the injured area for up to 24 months, constantly dividing and building new tissue. Stem cell injections contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates joints and tendons, relieving your pain and restoring your mobility.
Stem cell therapy and research is still growing and evolving as scientists learn more and more about cells, regeneration and how to use cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease. Scientists use stem cells in the laboratory to screen new drugs and to create model systems to evaluate normal growth and discover the causes of birth defects. As technology and science continue to progress together, it is exciting to imagine where stem cells will take us in the coming years. The National Institute of Health stated that amniotic stem cells are promising candidates for tissue engineering and stem cell therapy of several human disorders since they can be drawn from the amniotic fluid and are safer to use in therapy.
The best way you can learn more about the research and findings of stem cell therapy is to schedule a free consultation with a medical provider near you. Learn about the amazing potential of stem cells and if you are a candidate for stem cell therapy.