Success Rate Of Stem Cell Therapy
Medical science continues to advance in many different areas. Prosthetic limbs, for example, are now being created that are starting to resemble cybernetic implants from science fiction films. New vaccines and surgical techniques make it possible for once fatal diseases to be treated. And then there is the ongoing research and treatment of various medical conditions through the use of a new technique known as stem cell therapy.
But what is stem cell therapy? Why is it such a recent addition to the medical arsenal for fighting illnesses, and just how effective is it? The answers to these questions aren’t simple, but, with time, are becoming more promising.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
The name is a strong descriptor for this technique. Stem cell therapy is a form of medical treatment that uses a very special biological component known as stem cells. Stem cells, however, are a very recent development in medical science, although theoretically, knowledge has existed of stem cells for a very long time. It just took more advances in medical technology and a better understanding of medical science to finally confirm, locate, and ultimately make use of stem cells.
Stem cell therapy is, in a way, a regenerative form of medical treatment. It is not like an organ transplant, where a donor provides a whole new piece of anatomy that must be integrated into the body. Instead, stem cells are placed in the affected area and encourage the healing and formation of new healthy cells and tissue to replace areas damaged by disease or injury.
How Can Stem Cells Do This?
The reason that stem cells have the regenerative ability to encourage new cell growth is because this is exactly what stem cells do during the pregnancy process. Stem cells have a very powerful ability that makes them “pluripotent,” and thus, they have earned the nickname in the medical community of “master cells.” This is because stem cells are the basic building blocks of the human body. If the DNA that comes from sperm fertilizing egg creates the blueprint, stem cells are the raw material that follows the blueprint and results in a baby.
Stem cells multiply as all cells do. However, after birth, most cells can only reproduce new versions of themselves. Hair cells can only reproduce more hair; they can’t create lung cells or muscle tissue. And some cells, like heart muscle, are only created at birth, and can never reproduce again, which is why damage to the heart muscle is always serious since no new heart muscle cells can replace them.
Stem cells, however, can become every cell in the body. So when a baby is growing in the mother’s womb, it is the stem cells that first multiply into sufficient numbers and then branch off and specialize, forming brain cells, heart cells, eye cells and everything else required to form a human baby. After birth, however, those stem cells are no longer produced by either the baby or the mother.
What Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat?
The most widely used form of stem cell therapy is for the treatment of blood-related cancer conditions. Leukemia, lymphoma, and others are all forms of cancer that cause cells—in this case, blood cells—to reproduce incorrectly. Eventually, the defective/non-functioning cells outnumber the healthy ones. Blood cells are created in bone marrow, and one very effective form of treatment is stem cell therapy. Stem cells are transferred to the cancerous areas, replace the cancerous cells with healthy ones that reproduce correctly.
However, stem cells can be used for more than just cancer. Research continues on many possible new avenues of treatment, such as Alzheimer’s, but while the FDA in America hasn’t yet approved of treatments beyond blood cancer in the USA, many clinics throughout America, and around the world, have already seen the results of stem cell therapy for injuries, and even conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder, and offer therapy for these conditions. So while the USA lags in using stem cell therapy for other conditions, countries like Georgia, for example, have already legalized and offered stem cell therapy for ASD.
The Success Rate
As with any medical treatment, there are no guarantees for stem cell therapy. Even vaccines, for example, can’t claim a 100% success rate for protecting people from illness. However, with the right medical evaluation, and an informed opinion looking at a medical condition, the rates always increase. For leukemia patients, for example, if there is no recurrence of leukemia two years after treatment, there is an 80% chance the cancer will never return.
For other forms of treatment, such as ASD, and muscular injury to the knees from arthritis or injury, the statistics are still being compiled. It’s important to remember that it is up to a medical professional to decide whether stem cell therapy is the best treatment for a medical issue. Always consult with an expert first if you’re considering this option.