Stem cell therapy has been a source of much controversy in the medical community in the past, but research into adult stem cell treatments show promise of potential healing through the use of a patient’s own adult cells. Unlike embryonic stem cells, there’s no controversy around adult stem cells because no ethical concerns are required for their use.
“Adults have stem cells in a variety or organs and tissues throughout the body that we believe hold the key to helping the body heal and repair itself”, said Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz, founder of the San Francisco Stem Cell Treatment Center.
Adult Stem Cells Share Two Specific Characteristics
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are two main characteristics shared by all adult stem cells. Long-term self-renewal, which is the ability to make identical copies of themselves, or proliferate, for long periods of time is the first specific characteristic of adult stem cells. The second characteristic is the ability to become specific cell types with specific functions.
Stem Cell Therapy Has Shown the Potential for Drastic Healing
One of the many reasons the medical community has shown such tremendous response to the use of stem cells is because of the relatively non-invasive nature of the treatments and the wide range of possibilities that exist. In fact, some scientists and doctors believe that in the future, the uses of stem cells in medicine will be nearly limitless.
Stem cell therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure or in-office treatment in many locations all over the nation. Doctors who perform the treatments believe it has many benefits including:
- Reducing healing time
- Reducing nerve damage
- Reducing pain
- Reducing hair loss
- Increasing collagen
- Repairing vision impairment
- Repairing and growing blood vessel tissue
- Stimulating growth of new tissue
- Stimulating growth of new cells
- Repairing damaged tissue
- Repairing scar tissue
During the treatment, stem cells are extracted from the patient’s bone marrow or fatty tissue in the upper thigh or stomach. A centrifuge machine helps concentrate the growth factors and other important substances in the stem cells before they are injected into the patient’s target area. Almost immediately, the cells begin stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself through repairing or regenerating cells and tissue.
Right now, some doctors believe more research is needed before treatment can begin. Others are already using stem cell therapy in their practices to help treat patients with everything from joint pain to autoimmune and neurological diseases.
“We have seen great success with using stem cell therapy to help treat orthopedic patients who suffer from neck, back, hip, knee and shoulder pain,” Herskowitz said. “We are also treating patients with more serious diseases like Lupus, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease.”
The Future of Stem Cell Therapy Research
The National Institutes of Health reports the following goals for the future of stem cell therapy research:
- Identify how undifferentiated stem cells become the differentiated cells that form the tissues and organs
- Determine how stem cells can turn human genes on and off
- Learn to predictably control cell proliferation and differentiation
- Investigate more uses for stem cells in serious medical conditions such as cancer and birth defects