Stem Cell Therapy Offers New Hope
Stem cell therapy employs the body’s own healing potential by isolating stem cells from one location of the body (fat tissue or bone marrow) and relocating them to an area of disease, injury or inflammation. The main function of stem cells is to maintain and repair tissue. Cell therapy enhances this natural function by getting stem cells more directly to an area of need within the body.
As soon as stem cells arrive, they grow to the type of cells the body needs to be repaired, including bone, cartilage, muscle, etc. They are naturally anti-inflammatory and can therefore help in the body’s own healing process and potentially reverse the effects of many diseases.
Some of the conditions currently being successfully treated include arthritis, sports-related injuries, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, erythematosus and Crohn’s disease, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, autism, critical limb ischemia and many others.
Autologous stem cells are stem cells that use the patients own bone marrow or blood. Once a patient is deemed eligible to undergo this stem cell treatment, the process includes removing stem cells from their own bone marrow. The cells are retrieved and frozen until the patient has completed all other treatments (for example chemotherapy for a blood cancer) at which time the cells are reintroduced to the body.
Umbilical cord stem cells are collected at birth from the blood in the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells which are similar to the stem cells found in bone marrow. These cells are a genetic match to the baby, so if they need stem cells to fight infection or disease, umbilical cord stem cells are safe to use for treatment. Umbilical cord stem cells can be used privately for the patient or donated to be used publicly for the general population.
There are varying benefits to using umbilical cord and autologous stem cells for natural healing. Benefits of umbilical cord stem cells: stem cells are a genetic match, therefore reduced the chance of rejection; no procedure necessary to remove the cells; and stem cells can be stored at birth for future use. Benefits of autologous stem cells: increased chance the body will accept autologous cells; patients will not inherit illness or disease from a donor; and patients’ own cells go back into the body to repair the damaged area.