There are a few interesting and encouraging findings coming out of modern non-embryonic stem cell research, that you might not have heard of. That fact is understandable, even forgivable, given that the term “stem cell research” has found itself beleaguered by years of misinformation and stigma. There is even a possibility that the very individuals tasked with keeping us healthy have actively suppressed advancements in stem cell research for various reasons. Nonetheless, as modern science discovers new and exciting uses for these multi-faceted cells, more evidence is coming to light that the use of stem cells could provide relief from common health concerns.
Traditional Treatments and the Medical Model
For nearly every medical concern shared by humanity, the solution is either medication or treatment or surgical intervention. For older patients, supplements and hormone therapy are becoming more popular. Yet, these antiquated methods provide the greatest possibility for profit in terms of those with a great stake in both national health and a lack thereof. Large pharmaceutical companies, drug researchers, and medical groups hold their economic interests to be at least as important as their patients’ health. None of these entities would benefit from the existence of alternative methods that do not utilize their medications. Yet, in the world of independent research, specifically the work of the Cell Surgical Network (CSN), stem cells are showing themselves to be a godsend.
Stem Cell Definition
A stem cell, simply put, is an “open-minded,” non-specialized cell that can be induced to perform a specialized, previously determined function, dictated by the prevailing circumstances. It is the veritable “Swiss army knife” of cells, once it is designated to a particular function (repair heart cells, replace knee cartilage, reverse the effects of diabetes on the pancreas, or rerouting synapses after a brain injury, for example) they specialize and get to work. Stem cells can be tasked to not only heal a plethora of body tissues and systems but also enhance the longevity of the affected organ. This cannot necessarily be said of surgery, which ostensibly alters the body part (hopefully for the better) and relies on its natural healing ability to repair the damage. Stem cells, on the other hand, are the agents of repair itself.
Moral Concerns and Other Issues
As previously noted, stem cell research has been given an undeserved black eye in the public consciousness. Most of the prevailing opinions on stem cell treatment are based on the most newsworthy method of procuring them. Currently, this appears to be embryonic stem cells. These cells are harvested from the umbilical cord itself, umbilical cord blood or from the embryos themselves, or from fertilized eggs discarded from in vitro fertilization. Setting aside the obvious ethical concerns and moral quandaries, there are other issues that come to the fore. Given that very few stem cell transplants using embryonic stem cells involve direct family members of the donor, the DNA cannot be a very good match to start with. As a result, the transplanted cells get wiped out at around 4 months, as a result of immunological surveillance and tissue rejection by the recipient. However, this rejection does not happen early on because all fetal cells tend to be immunologically privileged.
In addition, fetal cells that have undergone a large number of expansion divisions may be at slightly increased risk of developing tumors. Is it any wonder that stem cell research and the manipulation of genetics and cells has raised moral concerns? To overcome concerns of the public, and promote beneficial research, necessary boundaries have been drawn. In the United States, researchers comply with rules put in place by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the organization tasked with designing and enforcing these boundaries. These rules provide a moral foundation that allows ethical research to continue and has led to the breakthroughs in stem cell-related medical interventions. With adult stem cell procurement gaining traction, it is no longer necessary to harvest embryonic stem cells. This alleviates the pressing moral concern and helps stem cell research interests overcome the unnecessary stigma that has followed it like a black cloud throughout most of its existence.
Non-Embryonic Stem Cells: No babies required
The ability of scientists to obtain stem cells from adult tissues is revolutionary. By removing the negative stigma attached to embryonic stem cell use and allowing patients to utilize their own stem cells (autologous), researchers have expanded the scope of stem cell utility and increased the chance for successful integration into the medical treatment model. Stem cells exist throughout our bodies and can be extracted from almost all healthy tissues then deployed to aid in recovery and healing from a variety of conditions. For example, our fat (adipose tissue) has abundant supplies of cellular material for this purpose. And since the DNA is identical, there is no risk of rejection or even tumor growth. The tissues are ready to be utilized, and all a physician needs to do is give them a purpose and turn them loose to do their job!
A fortuitous “natural laboratory” of treating tens of thousands of animals by veterinarians has shown that stem cell treatments are effective. Indeed, they have proved so effective in treating hitherto crippling diseases like arthritis and injury that the large animals treated have been saved from being euthanized. Further, there are large numbers of published, peer-review studies that show the efficacy of stem cell without bias or placebo effects, giving those animals a second chance at life. Rather than treating only the symptoms such as pain and inflammation, the introduction of healthy, reparative agents into the site of illness reverses the disease’s progression itself. One cavea, however, in order for stem cells to be most-effective the affected organ has to be relatively intact structurally to provide a template for the repairing cells.
In the above case of arthritis, some of the degraded cartilage must remain in a whole joint for the stem cells to bond to, replicate and repair. They may do that also through their messaging systems communicating with existing native cells. The same is true for any organ or organ system that stem cells are called to repair or replace. So, provided that the correct conditions are met, the use of stem cells in medical interventions can enhance mobility and quality of life while preventing unnecessary and dangerous (not to mention costly) surgical interventions.
The Proof in the Numbers: Stem Cell’s Effectiveness
The information being gathered from research data is very promising indeed. The greatest level of effectiveness currently is being achieved with orthopedic patients, whereas other areas show significant improvement. This simply tells us what areas of research need additional attention, in order to broaden the scope of available treatments in the future. Here are the numbers on the most important breakthroughs so far.
- Orthopedic patients treated with 80% effectiveness
- Auto-Immune conditions showed 75% effectiveness
- Cardiac patients can expect 68% effectiveness
- Neuro-degenerative conditions show 63% effectiveness
- Pulmonary patients report 57% effectiveness
The interesting part of these findings is that some of the studied conditions and diseases, which fall into these categories, were previously thought to have no cure. Examples include Parkinson’s, paralysis and autism etc., which provide a cringe-worthy cross section of the above reports that were once considered to be non-reversible. However, with the advent of stem cell research, the light of hope has appeared at the end of the tunnel for those who suffer from any of these conditions. Stem Cell treatment could allow patients the opportunity to recover rather than just fighting the spread of disease.
On-going research into achievable remedies for diseases that affect our lives, like diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Muscular Dystrophy is what we do at Gulf Coast Stem Cell Regenerative Center. As an affiliate partner of the Cell Surgical Network, we conduct patient-funded research with the intention of treating patients with their own autologous stem cells. We aid in the management of autoimmune, degenerative, inflammatory, and ischemic conditions, and our highly skilled team of providers are committed to the goal of alleviating symptoms, enhancing functionality, and improving quality-of-life for our patients. We look holistically at patients by instructing risk modification through diet and a program of exercise.
Please feel free to contact us so that we can discuss your individual conditions and needs, as well as suitability for treatment. Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine Center and let us show you what “Excellence with a Human Touch” means. For more information on the full list of diseases and disorders that we currently address, please call (866) 865-4823. Our facility is located at 1153 Ocean Springs Rd. Ocean Springs, MS. 39564. Or visit our website at www.gulfcoaststemcell.com.