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Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy – What is it ?

Stem Cell Therapy

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.

Paracelsus

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.

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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.

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Cost of Stem Cell Therapy in Malaysia

Stem Cell Therapy in Malaysia

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is not new in Malaysia though not many people know about it until recently. Since 2006, Hospital Ampang has been providing clinical stem cell therapy. However, the cases of stem cell therapy really only picked up since 2010. Most of the stem cell therapy in Malaysia belong to hemopoietic stem cell transplants. Hemopoietic stem cells, or simply HSCs, are essentially stem cells capable of developing into all types of blood cells. HSCs are the earliest form of stem cells used in stem cell therapy. In this article, Stem Cell Malaysia will summarize the information on the cost of stem cell therapy in Malaysia.

Cost of Stem Cell Therapy in Hospitals

According to the press statement given by the Minister of Health, Malaysia, during the 1st Stem Cell Congress held in November 2012, there are 11 Haemopoietic transplant centres in Malaysia. In the Minister’s report, not all costs of stem cell therapy are revealed. However, it was stated that,

“In private hospitals, the cost of transplant Allogeneic PBSCT ranges from RM200,000 to RM250,000. Through Tabung Bantuan Perubatan, the Ministry of Health is subsidising HSCT done in University hospitals at RM 40,000-RM 60,000 per transplant. “

Allogeneic PBSCT means peripheral blood stem cell transplantation using blood stem cells from another person. PBSCT is commonly used to replenish blood stem cells in patients whose blood cells have been mostly killed during chemotherapy.

As you can see from the report or statement, the cost of stem cell therapy is extremely expensive. The high cost of stem cell therapy is certainly beyond the financial ability of ordinary citizens. Even with subsidization from the Government, the cost of stem cell therapy is still far beyond normal affordability.

Hefty Cost of Stem Cell Therapy Creates Unfilled Vacuum

With the extremely high cost of stem cell therapy in the medical industry, many patients remain to be untreated. This is a cruel reality of medical costs in Malaysia and virtually every country in the world. Though the potential of stem cell therapy sounds promising, the high price tag takes away all hope for ordinary people with incurable diseases. The situation will likely remain to be so for a long time.

As a result of this saddening scenario, the needs of the masses hoping for the benefits of stem cell therapy remain unfulfilled. The vacuum of unfulfilled demands for treatment is not confined to Malaysia but is global. Hence, commercial organizations have cropped up offering stem cell therapy in the form of non-medical options or as ‘supplements’. That’s why we hear of unlicensed clinic performing ‘illegal’ stem cell therapy, particularly in the US. Are there such clinics in Malaysia? Only you and I can guess in the mire of our mind.

Cost of Non-Medical Stem Cell Therapy

The emergence of non-medical stem cell products which border on the unpublicized benefits of stem cell therapy is cropping up beyond the control of any law and act. The so called ‘testimonials’ of various commercial food grade or non-medical grade products have begun to flood the media, particularly the internet. While doctors and official body of the Government advise people not to undertake unlicensed stem cell therapy, people who experienced benefits of healing and cure from a food grade stem cell product will not remain silent.

While it is impossible to prove and certify clinically the efficacy of the stem cells used in these testimonial cases, patients of all kinds of conditions are vocal about the new health they are able to enjoy. It is also difficult for the medical community to refute the living testimonials of patients they sent home to die because there was no other alternative medically to treat these patients.

The absence of clinical proof does not necessarily prove the absence of efficacy. It merely means the unavailability of clinical evidence. Most of us have been brought up in a culture that takes the words of doctor as final when it comes to disease treatment. However, the development of complementary and alternative medicine in recent decades has opened the eyes and mind of many to look for solutions in this non main stream medical world. The surge of many cases in non-medical stem cell therapy follows the historical development of holistic treatment.

What annoys the main stream medical stem cell therapy provider is the low cost of food grade stem cell therapy. Most food grade or supplement type of stem cell products cost only a fraction of the cost of stem cell therapy in the main stream medical sectors. A basic course of treatment using a typical food grade or supplement type of stem cell products can be obtained for less than RM10,000.

Imagine the huge difference in costs between the two extremes. Many people who undertook the food grade or supplement type of stem cell therapy experienced more than merely healing of the intended illness or condition. In most cases, they claim healing of other ailments, if any, as well as rejuvenation of their overall health and vitality.

We hope this short article on cost of stem cell therapy will help you look at the options available and the relative costs of the options.

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The Worst Stem Cell News in 2012

Stem Cell News – Users BEWARE !

Stem Cell News

The media are showing more stem cell news in recent years. We can find many exciting stem cell news on stem cell research. We also read about some tragic stories on stem cell news. This is in my opinion one of the worst stem cell news I have come across in 2012. This is an incidence we hope it will not happen again. We highlight this stem cell news not for the purpose of making fun of anybody. Stem Cell Malaysia discuss about this incident so that no one will repeat the same mistake or walk the same path again.

The Most Horrifying Stem Cell News in 2012

It is this kind of stem cell news that ruin the reputation of the industry. Such stem cell news also serve as a warning and caution for users to take necessary precaution and do the needful before taking on a stem cell therapy or live cell therapy. Here goes the story.

Spend USD20,000 For A Messy Cosmetic Facelift – Unbelievable Stem Cell News

A woman in her 60s from the Los Angeles area decided to undergo a new form of stem cell cosmetics and spent USD20,000 for the procedure at a clinic in Beverly Hills. This particular type of stem cell cosmetics takes a patient’s adult stem cells and then inject them back to the targeted part of the patient’s body for the intended purpose.

For this incident, the cosmetic surgeon from the Beverly Hills clinic took out some of this woman’s abdominal fat using liposuction. The surgeon then extracted adult stem cells from the abdominal fats. Adult stem cells are essentially undifferentiated cells which can develop into different cells and tissues. From these adult stem cells, the doctor further extracted only the mesenchymal stem cells.

The mesenchymal stem cells, also known as Multipotent Stromal Cells, are stem cells which can develop into various types of cells including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, tenocytes, myotubes, neural cells, and hematopoietic-supporting stroma. (Ref. Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Royal Society of Medicine Journals, click here for source published article). Basically, what that means is mesenchymal stem cells can develop into bone, cartilage, fat, nerve cells, etc. Mesenchymal stem cells are popularly used by scientists for stem cell research because they are easily extracted and cultured. Furthermore, they have a high potential to be induced and cultured outside the body in the lab, which makes them very attractive for purposes of stem cell therapy.

What happened next was the cosmetic surgeon then injected the mesenchymal stem cells back into the woman’s face, including the vicinity of her eye area. The whole objective o this cosmetic procedure was supposed to rejuvenate the woman’s facial skin through the mesenchymal stem cells which can grow new facial tissue and also heal the aged cells on her face. Up to this point, everything is sound and perfect.

Three months later, the woman went to see another cosmetic surgeon (presumably from another clinic) and complained significant pain when opening her eyes. Worse, she heard cracking sound each time she opened her eyes. Upon examination by the cosmetic surgeon, they observed her eye drooping involuntarily and swelling around the eye region. She went through 6 hours of surgery by this cosmetic surgeon and his team. They dug out chunks and pieces of bones from the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

The Culprit – The Main Message of This Stem Cell News

What actually went wrong was during the procedure they also injected calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a dermal filler commonly used for more than 2 decades by plastic surgeon to reduce wrinkles. However, this chemical or rather mineral is also capable of inducing mesenchymal stem cells to turn into bone! This blunder was due to oversight or unqualified doctors at that cosmetic clinic is up to the court to decide.

This stem cell news may sound like an isolated incident, and it probably is. But, we hope this makes users to be more cautious if they do want to go for stem cell therapy or stem cell cosmetics. The original incident of this stem cell news is taken from Scientific American entitled “In the Flesh: The Embedded Dangers of Untested Stem Cell Cosmetics” (click here for the original article). Do visit our site for more stem cell news.

 

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Stem Cell News in Malaysia 2012

Stem Cell News in Malaysia

Stem cell news are increasing in frequency and quantity in the media in recent years. The drastic increase in stem cell news is due to the huge amount of activities in virtually all areas related to stem cells. You will find stem cell news from government bodies announcing the latest policy and landmarks. There are even more stem cell news on the latest achievements in stem cell research. The commercial market is also not denying their share of the publicity in stem cell news. Stem Cell Malaysia will summarize some of the major stem cell news in Malaysia in the year 2012.

Stem Cell News 1 – 1st National Stem Cell Congress 2012

Stem Cell News

Photo Source – The Malaysian Insider

The most significant news and event in Malaysia is none other than the 1st National Stem Cell Congress 2012. This landmark event was jointly organized by the UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute (UMBI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Ministry of Health Malaysia. The auspicious occasion kicked off with an opening speech by the Malaysia Minister of Health, Y. B. DATO SRI LIOW TIONG LAI.This historical event marked the vision of the Malaysian Government to propel Malaysia to be in the forefront of regenerative medicine.

In his opening speech, YB Dato Sri Liow categorically emphasized “the need to provide the necessary scientific evidence before a cell product is introduced to our patients.” This is an important statement by the Minister as it states the position of the Ministry’s concern for people’s safety and welfare.

Stem Cell News 2 – Stem Cells Law Not Needed Yet in Malaysia

This stem cell news is taken from The Malaysian Insider (Click here for original news).
During an interview session at the 1st National Stem Cell Congress with the reporters, YB Dato Sri Liow stated that Malaysia has not had the need to have a law or act on stem cells. Currently, there are four guidelines for stem cell research. The Minister told the reporters that these guidelines should be sufficient to form the framework for the researchers to do their work.

Stem Cell News 3 – Malaysian Doctors Use Stem Cells to Regenerate Cartilage

Stem Cell News - Cartilage Regeneration

Cartilage Regeneration Using Stem Cells – Taken from The Star Online

This stem cells news is taken from The Star Online (Click here for the original stem cell news)
Among orthopedics throughout the world, there are two schools of specialist torn between their opinion on whether stem cells are feasible for cartilage regeneration. However, a group of Malaysian doctors had propelled themselves beyond the arguments and successfully used stem cells to regenerate worn out cartilage. It is true that medical textbook still teaches that cartilage cannot be healed and regrown. But these Malaysian doctors proved otherwise.

This team of Malaysian doctors is led by two doctors, namely Dr Ranjit Singh and Dr Saw Khay Yong. Dr Saw is an orthopedic surgeon and founder of Kuala Lumpur Sports Medicine Centre (KLSMC). Their achievement on cartilage regeneration dated back to 2005 when Dr Saw successfully regenerated cartilage in the knee joints of goats. Their technique involved drilling a hole in the underlying bone of the injured joint, and injecting the patient’s own blood stem cells into the hole. When their results and success were published in international scientific journals, doctors from the US and UK came all the way to Kuala Lumpur and learn the latest technique.

The courage and success certainly earned them international fame. Since then they have been treating sports injuries on weightlifters, international patients and national athletes.

Stem Cell News 4 – Datuk Lee Chong Wei Underwent Stem Cell Therapy

This stem cells news is taken from The Star Online (Click here for the original stem cell news)
Locally, the most famous patient of Dr Ranjit and Dr Saw was Datuk Lee Chong Wei. In May 2012, The world number one badminton player injured his right ankle. Many fans and Malaysians thought there was no way for Datuk Lee to recover and compete in the 2012 London Olympics. However, Datuk Lee went to KLSMC for treatment. Datuk Lee had stem cell injections into his torn ligament and he recovered quickly. A few months later Datuk Lee was able to play in the London Olympics. This incidence further escalated the KLSMC Team to new fame as they saved the Malaysian hero’s ankle.

This is a snapshot of some of the news on stem cells in the Malaysian scene. As we usher in 2013, Stem Cell Malaysia will bring you more updates on stem cell news in due course.

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Benefits of Live Cell Therapy

Live Cell Therapy – A Recap

Live Cell Therapy Benefits

Live cell therapy is essentially a form of stem cells treatment using cells which are still alive. In live cell therapy, the live or living stem cells are implanted in the body or targeted parts of the body. Live cell therapy can be administered by transplantation, injection or, more recently, oral ingestion. For more information on the fundamentals of this subject, please read our article on ‘Live Cell Therapy‘. Stem Cell Malaysia will address the effects, functions and benefits of live cell therapy in this article.

Efficacy of Live Cell Therapy

Over the past decades since the infamous Dr Paul Niehans’ practice of cell therapy, many conditions have been benefited from live cell therapy. Based on Dr Victor Chen’s bestselling ‘Secret of the Rich & Famous: Live Cell Therapy’ (2008, Oak Better Health Series), live cell therapy has been effective for general loss of vitality, physical and mental exhaustion, convalescence after illness, premature aging, signs of deterioration of organs such as brain, heart, kidneys, liver and digestive organ, lack of drive and declining mental efficiency, weak immune system, arthritis and other degenerative diseases of the connective tissue, under-performance of the endocrine glands, disturbances due to menopause, Parkinsonism, chronic pain, migraine, headaches, neuralgia, back pain, sciatica, atherosclerosis of the brain, heart and peripheral circulation.

Functions of Live Cell Therapy

The functions of live cell therapy are more than mere revitalization of the body’s youthfulness. Doctors administering cell therapy have long seen cells treatment is very effective in revitalizing youthfulness. Typically, the skin tone and complexion improve, vitality increases, energy level picks up, optimism also increases, and many signs of aging improve too. However, Dr Paul Niehans used live cell therapy far beyond the objectives of beauty and anti-aging.

Using live cell injection, Dr Paul Niehans was able to regenerate damaged and old organs. His live cell therapy was also successful in stimulating the development of organs which were underdeveloped or retarded. It is this achievement that stirred up much objection at that time. During those years Dr Paul had successfully treated dwarfism using live cells treatment.

Explanation of Live Cell Therapy

Though the exact mechanism and working of stem cells or live stem cells on the body and/or damaged organs remain to be elucidated, the benefits of live cell therapy on the body and damaged or aged organs are certain and have been witnessed over and over again for the past decades.

When live cells are implanted into the body, patients will feel immediate effect of recovery or rejuvenation. According to Dr Paul Niehans, the immediate effect is not due to the regeneration of cells. The immediate revitalization is likely due to the stimulation of hormones from the implantation of live cells. Cellular regeneration or growth of new cells will probably take longer and the effect will be experienced only after 3 to 6 months from the time of implantation. Therefore, stem cell therapy or live cell therapy still falls back to the natural healing of the body. In other words, the live cells will regenerate the damaged organs, tissue or glands. Once the relevant parts are repaired and regenerated, the body is ready to heal itself. Certainly, natural healing of the body takes place probably concurrently as the repair and regeneration are taking place.

Benefits of Live Cell Therapy.

We summarize below some of the visible, observable and ‘sensible’ benefits of live cell therapy.

  • Smoother & softer skin
  • Complexion becomes more even & skin texture becomes finer
  • Freckles and/or pigmentation lighten
  • Skin more hydrated, removing wrinkles and lines
  • Scars are reduced & enhanced skin renewal
  • Open pores reduced & regulated sebum production
  • Sagging bust becomes more firmed up
  • Regeneration of cells, tissues & organs
  • Stronger immune system
  • Increased alertness and mental capacity

The above are more of the general characteristics and consequences of live cell therapy. However, when live cell therapy is administered on persons with illness or health problems, it is not surprising to see them getting healed from their health conditions. In other words, live cell therapy provides treatment of diseases and many will experience recovery from illnesses. The youthful appearance and the apparent reversal of aging are more of the outward expression of the youthfulness within the body. This is the power of live cell therapy.

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Live Cell Therapy

Live Cell Therapy – What Is Live Cell Therapy

Live Cell Therapy - Stem Cell Malaysia

Live Cell Therapy is a form of stem cell therapy. Literally, live cell therapy means transplantation of live cells into the body for disease treatment, repair of damaged organs, tissues and cells, beauty and health rejuvenation. It is under the umbrella of regenerative medicine. Live cell therapy can also refer to transplantation of cells or stem cells. However, modern day live cell therapy more commonly uses stem cells instead of matured cells. Stem Cell Malaysia shares with you in this article the nuts and bolts of live cell therapy.

Cell Therapy – The Foundation of Live Cell Therapy

Alexis Carrel

Alexis Carrel from http://en.wikipedia.org/

Since the whole idea of live cell therapy is based on cell therapy, let’s have a brief overview of the relevant history. Dr Charles-Edward Brown-Séquard (1817–1894), a Mauritian physiologist and neurologist, injected live animal testicle extracts for anti-aging and sexual prowess in early 1800s though the incidence stirred up much controversies. Dr Charles Edward is no doubt one of the fore fathers of cell therapy. In 1912 Dr Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), a French physiologist and biologist and also a nobel laureate, demonstrated for the first time in history the revitalizing effect of young cells on a culture of old and degenerated cells.

But the modern day pioneer of cell therapy and live cell therapy is none other than Dr Paul Niehans (1882-1971). In 1931, Dr Niehans discovered cell therapy by chance. The incidence is mentioned in an information documentprovided by Clinic Paul Niehans, founded by Dr Niehans’ daughter in Switzerland. Eversince the ‘accidental’ discovery, Dr Niehans abandoned surgical implantation and used only implants through injection. From then on, live cell therapy through injection has become more and more popular and common.

How Does Live Cell Therapy Work?

There are different theories on why live cell therapy work though the exact mechanism has yet to be found. Furthermore, live cell therapy through injection or oral live cells is more superior than surgical implantation. Some of the advantages of injection and oral live cell therapy are:

  • Quick dispersion of cells throughout the body
  • No lack of blood supply or loss of blood as in surgical transplants or implants
  • Rapid integration into metabolism of the body as the cells are in suspension
  • Can be used for organs which are impossible or difficult for transplantation
  • The body can select or reject the cells naturally

Why Live Cell Therapy Works?

Live cell therapy has been practiced for many decades and someone somewhere in this world is receiving live cell therapy each day. Though the exact mechanism of how stem cells work in the body has yet to be determined, it has been shown to be working over and over again. The human body usually accepts, with little rejection if any, individuals cells injected or ingested orally during live cell therapy. One possible explanation is because of the embryonic cells used in the therapy. The embryonic cells have yet to have any matured immunological composition. It is thought that because of this, the individual cells or stem cells can get pass an adult body’s immune system.

Another observation of why live cell therapy works is even more marvelous. When the individual cells or stem cells are injected or ingested into the body, they do not get dispersed haphazardly. Instead they will somehow end up at their corresponding organs. In other words, liver stem cells will end up going to the liver organ. Kidney stem cells will end up going to the kidney, and so on. Using radioisotopes to tag the stem cells has proven that injected or ingested cells do end up at the specific corresponding organ.

The Power of Live Cell Therapy

The next logical question we need to answer is once the stem cells ended up at the specific organ or tissue, what can they do? Or, what will they do? This is the crucial part for any live cell therapy.

Cell biologists today know that a cell from a specific tissue or organ has the information necessary to regenerate or rebuild the entire organ, tissue or gland. This is the fundamentals of genetic engineering and have great implications for live cell therapy and stem cell therapy. Experiments have shown that when they extracted kidney, liver and skin cells from chick embryos, processed them as would be for cell therapy, and injected them into an egg membrane, the cells were able to develop into the corresponding organs.

There are 3 powerful observations and realizations from the above and similar research:

  • Embryonic cells or tissues can have the most stimulating effect on growth. That means, young cells or tissues contain more life power than matured ones.
  • Growth stimulation is organ and tissue specific and not species specific. That’s why stem cell therapy and live cell therapy can make use of cells or stem cells from animals, notably sheep and deer which have the best biocompatibility with the human body. (Refer to our article on Sources of Stem Cells)
  • Unwanted stem cells are rejected without causing harm to the body.

Theories On The Revitalizing or Rejuvenation Power of Live Cell Therapy

First of all, cell biologists have uncovered that a stem cell contains all the genetic information or message in the DNA and RNA required to form an organ, tissue or gland. One theory states that the information or message in an old cell is defective or damaged. In this case, the reproduction from old cells will not produce cells which function to their fullest potential. When young stem cells are next to the old cells, the correct genetic information or message will be passed or communicated to the old cells. Another theory states that as cells age, they lose their ability to function to their potential. So, when stem cells are present, they can stimulate secretions which re-activate the aged or old cells to recover and function properly again.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about live cell therapy and stem cell therapy. Do return soon as Stem Cell Malaysia has more upcoming in depth information on live cell therapy and its applications.

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