Because “Stem Cell Cures” are dominating the media, it is important to become a well-informed consumer.
A stem cell, available ONLY FROM EMBRYOS, can turn into any tissue once stimulated to do so. An adult mesenchymal “stem cell” or MSC, is actually a pluri-potenmtial cell. It can turn into bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon and other mesenchylal tissues but is UNABLE to turn into nerve/brain organ tissue. To label these mesenchymal pluri-potential cells as stem cells, is misleading, and the scientist who discovered MSCs regrets using the term.
Although stem cell and MSC research to cure many diseases and conditions, has been ongoing for many years throughout the world, it has recently reached the mainstream. Medical clinics touting “stem cell cures” are popping up globally. Unfortunately, these clinics are simply victimizing the public, as they charge thousands/tens of thousands of dollars for treatments ranging from multiple sclerosis to dementia, cancer and arthritis, that have not been proven to work. In the United States, true stem cell treatment is ONLY AVAILABLE if enrolled in a clinical trial. The US FDA does not allow anything that is more than “minimally manipulated” to be used unless under clinical study via an FDA trial. Although treatments are available in other areas of the world, they are UNREGULATED and UNCONTROLLED.
For MSCs to work, the cells must:
1. Be harvested from the donor, the best sources are fat and bone marrow. Embryonic cells, harvested from aborted infants, umbilical cord and placenta tissue, is available in other countries.
2. The true pluri-potential cells are separated from the “bad cells” and other proteins
3. Cells must be chemically or mechanically manipulated to express specific surface proteins in order for the cells to turn into the desired tissue
4. The cells then need to be multiplied (via further manipulation) to obtain enough cells
5. The cells are then often attached to a scaffold to help further enable the cell to form the proper tissue
6. Cells are then placed, via injection or surgery, into the patient in the area of desired affect Unfortunately, even then the cells may not behave as expected as the timing, dose, delivery method of cell therapy is unknown.
The following article, by a respected Orthopedic researcher in California, provides some basic information on MSC research in Orthopedics, highlighting areas of interest in addition to presenting a few examples of MSC treatment gone wrong.
If a physician or clinic offers you “stem cell” therapy that is not part of an FDA trial, DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM! Before you spend/waste money, do your homework. Find information regarding clinical trials and stem cell usage, PRP, amniogenic cell therapy and other biologics on the official FDA website.