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What Health Conditions Can Be Improved with Stem Cell Transplant?

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What Health Conditions Can Be Improved with Stem Cell Transplant?

Are you wondering if your ailment qualifies for treatment with a stem cell transplant? Here you can read about health conditions that can be improved with this method.

What Health Conditions Can Be Improved with Stem Cell Transplant?

One significant hope for illnesses that plagues billions worldwide is the continuous development of medical science.

As scientists uncover new treatments, they give hope to patients with diseases previously thought to lack cures. One major scientific breakthrough that holds much promise is stem cell transplant (SCT).

In particular, the stem cell transplant treatment process is a welcome development for people battling degenerative diseases.

It also can significantly improve life-threatening and other types of diseases.

This article explains all you need to know about STCs, their importance, and how it improves different conditions.

What Is a Stem Cell Transplant?

Stem cells are unique body cells that are produced especially in the bone marrow and then put into the bloodstream.

However, medical conditions, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment can destroy an individual’s stem cells. Hence, the transplantation of these cells is necessary as it helps infuse new and healthy stem cells into the body.

Stem cell therapy is a medical procedure through which a patient receives healthy and viable stem cells in a therapeutic amount. Medical practitioners may source them from different sources including the blood or bone marrow.

For example, doctors extract mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from sources such as adipose tissue, umbilical cord tissue (Wharton’s jelly), or amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding a fetus).

Notably, they don’t always come from a donor. Instead, doctors can get them from the patient – an autologous transplant.

However, these healthy stem cells must be harvested and cultured, which can take up to several weeks. Thus, it is not suitable for cases where treatment is to be started immediately.

Also, where these cells are from a sibling or an unrelated donor, it’s an allogeneic transplant, while an SCT from an identical twin is a syngeneic transplant.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Medical experts perform stem cell therapy by extracting tissue samples and preparing cell-based drugs to transfer them to the patient.

There are five vital steps in the stem cell transplant process. We explain them below.

  1. Medical tests and evaluations: This stage assesses the donor and donee’s general medical condition.
  2. Harvesting: The doctors extract the needed type of cells from tissues derived from your body or the donee.
  3. Processing: This involves cultivating extracted stem cells until achieving the drug for the therapy (may up to millions of cells).
  4. Transplanting: This is the transfer of a cell-based product (transplant) to the patient’s body. This involves different types of cell product administration, according to the doctor’s requirements.
  5. Recovery. On average, a patient will need some days to recover after the procedure. You may prefer to remain in the hospital under medical supervision during this period. The recovery period is vital to allow your new stem cells to adapt to your body and start their therapeutic work within damaged areas.

Why Use Stem Cell Transplant?

In the human body, stem cells are able to generate healthy cells to replace diseased or damaged cells in a natural way and modulate the immune system.

Thus, SCT is an excellent choice if you have a disease that is accompanied by inflammation or have no other options that can cure it.

Furthermore, this kind of therapy is safe, quick, effective, and offers long-term results. With SCT, you can:

  • Avoid surgery and its complications
  • Regain and increase functionality and mobility
  • Enjoy rejuvenated joints, tissues, and ligaments
  • Reverse injuries, and
  • Avoid anesthesia if you use donated cells.

What Are the Effects of Stem Cells?

Essentially, mesenchymal stem cells exploit their self-renewal and anti-inflammatory features to repair diseased body tissues.

When MSCs are divided into a therapeutic number of cells in the laboratory, doctors inject them into the patient’s body where they find injured areas they’ll work on. This could be joints, muscles, or nerve tissue.

After this transplant, the cell is attracted to diseased or inflamed cells. Then, through paracrine effects, MSCs signal the existing cells to change their behavior.

Consequently, the existing cells respond by regenerating the diseased cells and reducing inflammations.

What Health Conditions Can Be Treated With Transplantation of Stem Cells?

Doctors use this kind of transplantation to treat several diseases. Some of them include:

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Meniscus injury
  • Limb ischemia
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Auto-immune disorders

What Results Can Be Achieved?

The table below illustrates how cell-based therapy can impact some diseases we mentioned. It also shows the effects of bone-marrow cell transplants on some diseases.

Medical Condition

Possible Outcomes

Cardiac disorders Improve heart condition by inducing the growth of new blood vessels and creating new resident cardiomiocytes
Leukemia Hematopoietic stem cells enable recovery and maintain remission
Osteoporosis Increase bone regeneration and decreases inflammation and pain
Stroke Enhance brain function
Orthopedic diseases Using MSCs reduce pain, encourage cartilage repair and quality, and improve performance
Spinal cord injury Promote the recovery of motor functions (movements)
Multiple sclerosis Stall the disease progression by restoring damaged neuronal cells
Huntington’s disease Improve behavioral, metabolic, cognitive and anatomical functions
Neurological diseases Using MSCs prevent apoptosis and cell death in nerve tissues, encourages recovery in motor and sensory functions
Alzheimer’s disease Possibly restores cognitive function gradually

Note that there is no definite pattern for improvement or recovery after an SCT. The ailment, the person’s overall well-being, and the type of transplant determine how quickly and how well they recover.

Overview of Clinical Trials and Research on Stem Cell Transplant in Patients

Multiple clinical trials are going on around the world to fully discover and exploit the full potential of this kind of regenerative treatment.

These trials have focused on extending current applications of SCT by examining its effects on different diseases, from cardiac problems to blood disorders.

Researchers have also raised several issues in the field of regenerative medicine. For example, Wojciech Zakrzewski, Maciej Dobrzyński, Maria Szymonowicz, and Zbigniew Rybak extensively discussed stem cell therapy in their article “Stem Cells: Past, Present, and Future”. They discussed the history of this therapy and its current applications. The authors also examined the future uses of this method.

Notably, the researchers mentioned that medical practitioners could induce stem cells to become a specific cell type.

Thus, doctors can make these cells become the specific damaged or destroyed cells your body needs to repair. In addition, the research discussed the extraction of stem cells from the teeth.

Finally, athletes can benefit from cell-based therapy. First, the researchers analyzed the downsides of arthroplasty in treating osteoarthritis.

Then, they stated that SCT is a viable alternative for regenerating damaged tendons by athletes.

Final Thoughts

Some patients may need SCT for various reasons. For some, their own stem cells were destroyed during fighting the disease and medical procedures.

Conversely, a transplant can cure an existing health condition for others by activating their own regeneration mechanisms. Therefore, it’s great news that science can correct such medical conditions, even fatal ones.

By now, this treatment remains as expensive as ever. This is partly due to the aspects of creating a cell-based product, and partly due to the high level of service in clinics that offer such treatment.

Just as an example, center Swiss Medica guarantees stem cell therapy with hotel-like conditions to achieve your best medical benefit.

Do you have any questions or inhibitions regarding stem cell transplant? Then, we’ll love to hear from you in the comments.

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