Definition of Stem Cell
A Word About Fresh Cell Therapy
In Thailand, some clinics are offering a treatment called “Fresh Cell Therapy.” This kind of treatment has been offered for approximately 75 years in Switzerland and Germany. Fresh Cell Therapy utilizes the macerated tissues of sacrificed fetal sheep which are injected directly into the buttocks of the patient. There is considerable debate among proponents and critics on both the effectiveness and safety of Fresh Cell Therapy. To the knowledge of this writer there are no published controlled clinical studies demonstrating it’s safety or effectiveness. Please do not consider this archaic and unsafe treatment.
What about Stem Cell Therapy?
Definition: Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Bone marrow transplant is the most widely used stem cell therapy, but some therapies derived from umbilical cord blood are also in use.
“What are Stem Cells?”
- They Self-Replicate
That is they can divide and give rise to more stem cells of the same kind; and
- They Differentiate
They can differentiate into other kinds of cells. Meaning, as they mature they can change into specialized cells of different tissue types, such as blood cells, nerve cells, skin cells, or, frankly any other kind of cell.
There are many different kinds of stem cells, named in part by where they come from. For example, embryonic stem cells come from embryos (and due to scientific advances, they are not used often anymore). There arehematogenic stem cells which come from bone marrow. These stem cells have been used for decades to treat some forms of leukemia. There are mesenchymal stem cells that come a variety of sources including umbilical cord blood, placenta-derived, adiposed-derived and amnonic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Some kinds of stem cells exhibit a remarkable ability to home in towards sources of inflammation in the body. Injected mesenchymal stem cells travel through the blood stream and “find” tissues that are inflammed and in the process decrease the inflammation. It is because of this ability that much research is currently underway to determine if these kinds of stem cells are useful in the treatment of conditions characterized by chronic low level inflammation.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Accepted?
The short answer is “sometimes.”
Stem Cell Therapy plays an integral part of the treatment for certain blood cancers, like leukemia. A bone marrow transplant is a type of stem cell therapy that has been used for approximately 50 years. It is a risky procedure, generally reserved for people with very serious conditions.
A Word of Caution
Every person contemplating looking into stem cell therapy should search very carefully for the answers to the following questions:
- Is it legal?
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- How much does it cost?
Global Healthcare Options can assist you to meeting healthcare professionals that can answer these questions for you.
Stem Cell Treatments in Thailand: 10 Things You Need to Know
1. What is stem cell therapy?
Stem Cell Therapy is a medical treatment of a condition utilising human stem cells.
There are Conventional Stem Cell Therapies and Unconventional Stem Cell Therapies. Conventional Stem Cell Therapies have been used to treat a wide variety of leukemias, lymphomas and other non-cancerous conditions of the blood, i.e., sickle cell therapy. This kind of stem cell therapy is the basis for “bone marrow treatments” and has been conducted for many decades.
Unconventional Stem Cell Therapies are those treatments using human stem cells to alleviate specific conditions not part of the recognised list of conditions responding to stem cell therapies.
2. What are stem cells?
Stem cells are a special kind of human cell that posses two profoundly important characteristics:
- The capacity to replicate themselves to become stem cells
- The capacity to differentiate into any other kind of human cell
These two characteristics explain many of the potential therapeutic benefits attributed to stem cells. Stem cells in every human body, retain the ability to replicate to one degree or another throughout the life of the body. It is true that younger stem cells have a greater capacity to replicate than older stem cells. A stem cell’s capacity to differentiate or transform into other kinds of human cells explains the wide ranging benefits of circulating stem cells.
Stem Cells are also the source of large number of substances molecular biologists call “growth factors.” These growth factors are released from circulating stem cells upon detecting the presence of “inflammation.” Stem cells also have the ability to migrate to or home in on areas in the body where inflammation is located. These two physiological characteristics are thought to be the basis of the potent anti-inflammatory effects witnessed by doctors and scientists working with stem cells.
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