There is a growing number of difficult-to-treat diseases that people are suffering from. Stem cells offer great promise for new medical treatments. Read on to learn about stem cell therapy, types of stem cells, current and possible uses, patients’ expectations and real reviews.
Have you heard about stem cells? Of course, you have. Perhaps, you have read about them or heard about them in the news. Maybe you are wondering if it really is such a great treatment that can cure serious disease. Maybe you are wondering how stem cells can be used, who can be the patients and why stem cells are the subject of such vigorous debate.
I had all these questions too and I decided to find out. I looked to Swiss Medica, Moscow, which has plenty of experience in different kinds of treatment using stem cells. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about stem cells.
Why stem cells?
Stem cells have tremendous promise to help us understand and treat a range of diseases, injuries, and other health-related conditions. The list of diseases for which stem cell treatments have been shown beneficial effects is huge:
- problems with the endocrine system (esp. diabetes);
- diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (such as arthritis);
- neurological disease (multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer disease, and even autism);
- eye diseases (macular dystrophy);
- and blood circulation disorders, as well as many others.
Stem cell therapy uses cell transplantation, which stimulates tissue regeneration and repair. One of the main focuses of the treatment is helping people to slow down or stop the progression of a disease.
What are stem cells?
Regenerating the human body with stem cells
The human body has stem cells everywhere. They are the body’s raw materials — stem cells have the ability to become any other specialized cell.
Under the right conditions in the body or in a laboratory, stem cells can:
- Multiply themselves to form more cells;
- Transform into any types of cells in the human body.
They can be harvested from bone marrow, adipose tissue, peripheral blood, placenta, and umbilical cord, taken immediately after a healthy birth, and gingiva. (Read more)
What types of cells are used?
There are two different types of cells that can be used:
- Autologous (obtained from the patient’s tissues);
- Allogeneic (obtained from donated tissues).
Stem cell transplantation
For the best results, it is generally best to use allogeneic stem cells in the following situations:
- If there is a high risk of bleeding or an anesthesia intolerance (the procedure is not-invasive such as adipose-tissue aspiration or bone marrow extraction).
- If there is a low cell ability to reproduce in a patient’s body.
- If treatment should be started immediately (donated cells are already available).
Depending on the patient’s condition and therapeutic purposes, different cell-based products can be used.
|Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs).||
|Stromal vascular fraction (SVF)||
|Other types of cell products, including regulatory T-cells, and dendritic cells||
Most commonly used cell products are based on multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs).
How the procedure is carried out?
A specialist will determine the state of the patient’s health and arrange tests such as a biopsy, X Ray, CTH, blood tests, and other medical tests. Based on the results, the specialist will make a conclusion about the potential, suitability, and approach that will be best for each patient.
- Donor or yourself?
If donor cells are used, the treatment can start immediately. If autologous (self-sourced) cells are used, it takes time to perform a biopsy, isolate stromal cells, and cultivate the required volume (depend on the patient’s weight). Usually, this takes 3-4 weeks depending on the proliferative potential of the MSCs. Then the cultivated cells can be used for therapy or stored in a cryobank for some time.
- Test for sterility and infectious/bacteriological safety
- The procedure of cell product introduction
Routes of administration
- Into the spinal canal;
- Directly into the damaged area.
How long does the procedure last?
The time of the procedure depends on the diagnosis and the route of administration.
- Intravenous infusion – approximately 30 minutes.
- Intradermal local injection – depends on the size of the wound (it is performed at several points around the injured place).
If necessary, anesthesia may be used for the procedure.
After the procedure, the patient stays in the clinic for at least 2 hours to monitor the condition. The patient vitals (pulse, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, O2 saturation) are monitored along with anything the diagnosis would require.
If there are complaints or the emergence of new clinical symptoms, the patient’s issues will be attended until the condition improves.
What about stem cell therapy side effects?
The risk is very low. Stem cell therapy rarely causes side effects, and when side effects are present, they are typically quite mild. The most common side effects are:
- Itching or mild pain at or near the injection site;
- A short-lived fever (less than 2% of all cases).
Is stem cell therapy suitable for everyone? What sort of results can I expect?
Stem cell therapy is an innovative and promising method of treatment. Results will depend on the type of disease, the general condition of the patient, age, and the patient’s ability to recover.
For many individuals and many diseases, stem cells may offer treatment with truly remarkable results, although it is important to understand that the results of treatment do vary.
Stem cells do not guarantee a cure, but only contribute to the start of recovery processes in the body.
Often, for the best results, supportive procedures will aid the proliferation of the stem cells. Cell therapy works more effectively when combined with other therapeutic methods (depends on diagnosis) which help decrease inflammation, restore mobility, or activate the tissue repair process.
Complex therapy includes various methods that help stem cells during recovery, for example, physiotherapy, reflexotherapy, ultraviolet or laser blood irradiation, oxygen therapy, and other methods.
What Swiss Medica clinic reviews and their expectations?
I managed to speak with some patients during their treatment at Swiss Medica. Testimonials were very impressive.
“My husband had both knees replaced, so I knew the drill. When I was told that I needed both of my knees replaced I decided to look into alternative therapies. I found information about Swiss Medica clinic and decided to get consultation.
After the full examination they offered me the stem cell injections. So far, I have undergone 2 treatments within a few months, and I have noticeable definite relief, and my knees are still mine!”
“ My wife has been receiving stem-cell treatments for the last four days and she is feeling stronger, already looking slightly better and says she is experiencing less pain. For my wife to say that is huge”.
“I had diabetes and was diagnosed with diabetic foot ulcers. I heard about Swiss Medica clinic from my friend who convinced me to have a consultation done there because of their innovative treatment which would not require a surgery.
I went to the clinic and I heard about stem cell therapy. The procedure was absolutely painless. It was carried out under anesthetics. I felt just fine. The first improvements were visible soon after completing the treatment, and now, in 2-4 months after, I keep noticing new benefits and symptoms reversing as time goes on”.
“I received stem cell treatment from bone marrow and adipose tissue three months ago. I have been suffering from many autoimmune diseases for many years and I have already started to notice improvements in my condition thanks to the stem cell treatment.
Before I had to have immunosuppressive therapies, but now, thanks to stem cell therapy, I am able to stop with immunosuppressive therapies without any harsh, unwanted effects. I had rheumatoid arthritis, but that has completely disappeared without immunosuppression thanks to Swiss Medica and stem cells. I am very satisfied and now I can walk up stairs swiftly.
Also, I have pulmonary fibrosis. I haven’t had any big improvements in it so far but I hope that I am on the right track and that pulmonary fibrosis will improve as well. Small indications are noticeable already. Stem cell therapy has been a great experience for me after almost 40 years”.
“ I stumbled across the Swiss Medica 21 site by accident. I had been diagnosed with kidney disease. A doctor said it was functioning at less than 100 %. And when my condition got very bad I started to research any possible treatment.
That is how I found Swiss Medica. I did some research and discovered that they have been doing stem cell treatments for a number of diseases for well over 10 years and have clinics all over Europe, in Belgrade, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia. I called Swiss Medica and explained my condition. I sent them my blood work and asked if they could treat me. They gave me a positive reply! And my trip to Russia just began…
They picked me up at the airport, offered a translator, a car and a driver. They took me to the clinic and immediately put me on IV medication. A number of great doctors and nurses were available to me 24/7. As soon as I got back home to New York, I noticed that I started to feel much better and they sent a treatment program to me.
I know I’m no longer diabetic and my kidney functions have improved, my creatinine level is becoming normal. It works! The most important thing is my quality of life has improved so much! “
My opinion about stem cell therapy
After the discussion I clearly understood the following:
- Sometimes even the most promising treatment doesn’t work. Results will vary depending on the diseases which it is used to treat.
- Stem cell therapy has a huge potential and good achievement in disorders, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, where stem cells can re-establish one or more deficit cellular lineages and, generally, generate a more healthy state (read more).
- Patients’ reviews are very impressive and stem cells appear to be an effective treatment for those who are desperate to recover using a more conventional treatment protocol. For many diseases, stem cells may offer a treatment with results which wouldn’t be possible with other treatments.