Stem Cell Therapy – What is it ?
What is stem cell therapy? For most of us who are not scientifically or medically trained, that therapy may be overly technical to comprehend. Stem cell therapy, or stem cells treatment, is essentially a form of cell therapy under the family of regenerative medicine that puts stem cells into damaged organs or tissue with the objective to heal the organ or tissue and to treat disease, injury or ailment. Stem cell therapy is also a form of transplant. Unlike organ transplant which changes the entire organ, stem cell therapy transplant only the stem cells. Some common forms of stem cell therapy or cell therapy are bone marrow transplant and blood transfusion.
To understand stem cell therapy, we need to take a brief look at the history of cell therapy. A 16th century physician, Paracelsus wrote, “Heart heals heart, lung heals lung, spleen heals spleen, like cures like.” This probably best defines cell therapy and sets the foundation for stem cell therapy.
“Heart heals heart, lung heals lung, spleen heals spleen, like cures like.”
Stem Cell Therapy And Cell Therapy
Even as early as the 16th century, doctors believe that the use of live tissues or live cells is the best way for disease treatment. Unfortunately, this practice did not propagate and pass on to the present. Instead, modern medicine makes extensive use of chemicals to interfere the illness process or suppress the symptoms. One major problem with chemicals and medicine is that they need to be metabolized in order to take effect, if they do work at all. When that happens, the body goes through further stress and deplete the enzyme pool of the body. It is worth noting that medicine does not cure an illness.
Cell therapy is the only way to enable the body to renew itself and regenerate into a healthier state due to the renewed tissues or organs. Cell therapy is being carried out around the world everyday. This includes blood transfusion and transplantation of other blood components such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Historically, cell therapy takes the cells or tissue present in the young or fetus of certain animals and injects them into the body.Due to the advent of technology and scientific advancement, it is only in recent years to about a decade ago that stem cells can be preserved and freeze-dried. With this advanced method, oral consumption of such stem cells is made possible recently. Today, you can find stem cells products which you can take like other supplements in a capsule. The important factor or element of using such product for stem cell therapy is the potency of the stem cells. In other words, will the stem cells in these products be live and effective? Out of such stem cell therapy comes ‘live cell therapy’, which we will address in another interesting article.
The Mechanism and Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy
Scientists have yet to fully understand how stem cells actually work when they are introduced into the body. Despite much research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of stem cell therapy, there are many observable benefits of this treatment.
By introducing stem cells into the body through stem cell therapy, the stem cells can quickly disperse throughout the body. The introduction of stem cells is normally using injection and orally recently. Stem cell therapy can avoid the damage due to losss of blood which is a common cause for the death of cells during organ transplant.
Because the stem cells used in stem cell therapy are in the form of suspension, they can be easily integrated into the body’s metabolism without rejection. Stem cell therapy also makes some organ transplantation which is impossible or difficult a reality. For instance, it is impossible to transplant a brain. But stem cell therapy makes it possible to repair a damaged brain or regenerate the damaged cells or tissues in a brain.
Another huge benefit of stem cell therapy is that stem cells can be used for different parts of the body instead of organ or tissue specific as in the case of organ transplant. Furthermore, the body can naturally select the stem cells that are acceptable by the body and reject the ones which are not compatible. Scientists observe that stem cells are usually accepted by the body as compared to organ transplant, where an entire organ can be incompatible to the body. The reasons for this smooth integration of the stem cells are not clear to date. The likely explanation is due to immune system which rejects an organ which comes from another matured immune system, whereas stem cells come from a system that has yet to be matured in its immune system.
In view of the several benefits mentioned above, it is worthwhile to deliberate the validity of stem cell therapy in comparison to other forms of therapy available today. In upcoming articles, we will discuss stem cell therapy in more details in relation to disease treatment and beauty or anti-aging applications.