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Friday, July 20, 2012

Health News: Stem Cell Therapy

WHAT IS STEM CELL? 


Stem cells are defined by two properties. Firstly, they can ‘self-renew’, that is they can divide and give rise to more stem cells of the same kind. Secondly, they can mature or ‘differentiate’ into specialized cells that carry out a specific function, such as in the skin, muscle, or blood.

There are many different types of stem cells. These include embryonic stem cells that exist only at the earliest stages of development; and various types of ‘tissue-specific’ stem cells (sometimes referred to as ‘adult’ or ‘somatic’ stem cells) that are found in various tissues in our bodies. Recently, cells with properties similar to embryonic stem cells, referred to as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), have been engineered from specialized cells such as skin cells.

WHAT IS STEM CELL THERAPY

Stem Cell Therapy is the process of obtaining stem cells from an adult patient; concentrating them and administering them back into the patient’s own body. To be clear, these are non-embryonic stem cells, they are adult adipose stem cells. This process of actively obtaining and concentrating stem cells has shown to have beneficial effects in degenerative joint diseases and sport injuries, such as with knees, shoulders and elbows.


Clinical trials have shown that adult adipose stem cells have the potential to:
  • Increase the healing time of injured or damaged tissues
  • Regenerate tissue that has been damaged or lost by disease or trauma
  • Promote circulation by producing new blood vessels
  • Decrease inflammation and pain
  • Have the ability to become other cell types (heart cells, muscle cells, liver cells, bone cells)
Stem Cell Therapy is being used worldwide in a very successful manner to treat multiple diseases that were considered to be chronic. The stem cells (whether derived from fat or bone marrow) have the ability to repair and regenerate tissues like tendons, cartilage, muscle and bone. When stem cells are injected into the site of injury, they initiate and promote cellular healing, a regenerative process can’t be recreated with traditional medications or surgical procedures.

Stem Cell Therapy for aesthetic and orthopedic conditions. After a thorough medical history, physical and imaging evaluation, our specialized physicians will determine if you are a good candidate for our procedure. Cell therapy is an alternative approach and is usually combined with other treatments like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), IV Vitamin Therapy and Body Sculpting.

After a medical evaluation, the patient is prepared for the procedure. The procedure consists of 3 steps: harvesting, isolation and injection. The stem cells are harvested under local anesthesia making it a very comfortable and well-tolerated procedure. Then, the isolation process takes place. During this time, the fat or bone marrow undergo minimal manipulation to isolate the stem cells. This process usually takes about 90 minutes, during which the patient is comfortably relaxing. When the stem cells are ready, they are injected back to the patient all within the same procedure. There is very little downtime and because the cells are autologous (meaning from the patient’s own body), there are minimal risks of allergic or adverse reactions. Stem Cell Therapy restores the body’s natural balance and at the same time maximizes the cells’ healing potential by regenerating new tissues.

WHAT STEM CELLS USE TO TREAT PATIENTS?


As a matter of fact, there are many different types of stem cells which are applicable for different types of conditions. Here it is most important to differ between blood-forming and non-blood forming stem cells. Blood forming stem cells are typically administered by IV (Intra Vascular Injection) and enter the body via the cardiovascular system. They find their use in various treatments for conditions to the body, e.g. Diabetes, treatment for Renal function or treatment for Kidney function. Examples of blood-forming stem cells are autologous stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells. 

Separate from the cardiovascular system is the central nervous system. The central nervous system is completely separated from the rest of the body, and is completely constructed out of non-blood forming cells, so in order to guarantee a safe treatment, only non-blood forming stem cells are applicable for treatment. Treatment for all neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis) fall into this category. The preferred type of stem cells here are so-called Nervous Progenitor Cells, typically derived from fetal stem cell sources.

TYPES OF STEM CELLS
There are many different types of stem cells, and it is quite easy to confuse them or mix them up if their differences are not known. Some of these stem cells are very useful within stem cell treatment, whereas others are less useful or potentially harmful. In the following we would like to introduce the most common types of stem cells for your reference:

Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic Stem Cells are what you might call the purest form of stem cells. These cells are derived from embryos typically between two to four weeks old. These cells have the ability to form into any other type of cell and to multiply as needed. Unfortunately, impossible to control their growth and multiplication. During treatment this means, that they run a high risk of turning into cancerous cells, which makes them unfit for any type of stem cell treatment.



Fetal Stem Cells
Fetal stem cells are derived from a fetal source, typically not more then 2 months old. Similar to embryonic stem cells, they are very young and have great potential to differentiate and multiply. However, in addition to this it is actually possible to specialize these stem cells, by harvesting them from different parts of the fetus and differentiating them in-vitro, in the laboratory. So while using fetal stem cells in their pure form carries the same risks as using embryonic stem cells, once they are specialized, they have very high potential within stem cell application.

Nervous Progenitor Cells
These stem cells are actually a type of specialized fetal stem cells. They are harvested from the part, which later on will form the fetal brain. This makes them not only predestined to become nervous cells (e.g. neurons) but also guarantees that 100% of these cells are non-blood forming, which makes them very successful in applying them within the central nervous system. They are specialized cells, unlike other stem cells they cannot become any type of cell - they can only form into nervous cells. This also completely excludes them from the risk of forming into cancerous cells and makes them the prime choice for treatment within the nervous system.

Autologus Stem Cells
This is the type of stem cell which we typically describe as adult stem cells. These cells are found throughout the body of every human, mostly within the bone marrow. Typically our body uses these stem cells to replenish our blood, which makes them very high in blood forming stem cells. About 97% of these cells are blood forming which makes them unsuitable for any type of treatment for the central nervous system. Due to the fact that these cells typically have to be cultured from the patient’s body, and then re-injected into the same, which puts great stress on the stem cells. They are also not very effective in treating other conditions. However, there are some technologies which activates these stem cells in-vivo (within the body) without the need of culturing them. In these types of treatments they are mainly used as supporting stem cells for other types of stem cells.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mesenchymal Stem Cells are typically derived from the umbilical cord blood. Due to the fact that they are easily cultured and differentiated, they are often the preferred choice for stem cell treatment for various conditions to the body (e.g. diabetes, renal function). Still, the majority of these cells, over 80%, are blood forming stem cells, which makes their application within the central nervous system very difficult. However, their intra-vascular application has proven to be very successful.

CURRENT TREATMENTS
Due to the on-going nature of research, the number of diseases that we can treat with stem cells is constantly changing. Below is a current list of diseases that we can treat and have treated successfully. If you cannot find your current condition on the list, then please contact us and we can let you know if we are able to help.

Neurological Diseases including:

  • Peripheral nerve related: GuillainBarre Syndrome (GBS), Brachial plexus injuriesand facial paralysis, etc.
  • Spinal cord related: myelitis and spinal cord injury (SCI), etc.
  • Brain vascular diseases: cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral infarction, and abnormal vascular nets disease and brain injury etc.
  • Infectious diseases: viral encephalitis, encephalitis post bacterial infection, cerebral parasitic disease.
  • Demyelinative diseases: multiple sclerosis, ophthalmoneuromyelitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, diffuse sclerosis and leukodystrophy.
  • Movement disorders: Parkinson's disease, chorea minor, hepatolenticular degeneration, Huntington disease and Twitching Tourette's syndrome.
  • Nervous system degeneration diseases: motor neuron disease and Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).
  • Epilepsy
  • Diseases which cause abnormal development of the nervous system, hereditary diseases and metabolic disorders including: Batten disease and hereditary ataxia, etc.
  • Neuromuscular junction disease: myasthenia gravis.
  • Muscular diseases: muscular dystrophy, inflammatory myopathy and myotrophy etc.
Autoimmunity Diseases including:
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Sicca syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Polyarteritisnodosa
  • Reynolds syndrome
Diabetes mellitus: types 1 and 2

Eye Disorders including:

  • Optic nerve atrophy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Optic neuritis
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Diabetic retinopathy
Anti Aging Treatment
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