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By David Ikudayisi
Stem Cell Therapy comes in different types. Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy involves the use of embryonic stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage pre-implantation embryo at 4 days old to around 12 days old, leading to the destruction of the blastocyst which raises ethical and religious issues. Therefore, this type of Stem Cell Therapy is not the focus of this piece. The focus is Adult Stem Cells (ADSCs) and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are produced in the laboratories by reprogramming adult cells to express embryonic stem cells characteristics whereas ADSCs are cells obtained from an adult patient who will also be the recipient of the same stem cells.
In the United States, we must transplant the cells back to the same patient on the same day, while in some countries, the stem cells can be cultured to increase the quantity of stem cells before transplanting them back to the same patient who donated them.
Stem Cell Transplantation is a complex process that needs the care of experts in Regenerative Medicine, a new speciality of medicine . In order to ensure that science remains as the vehicle for hope and not harm, the controversies associated with the legal, social and legal issues of certain areas of stem cells research and stem cells potential clinical applications must be carefully examined. Advancing treatment and care for patients to save a life is and must be the ultimate goal.
Regenerative Medicine helps people to naturally regenerate and rejuvenate their bodies from the different conditions they may be suffering from without using chemicals or the orthodox medicine we are used to, but Adult Stem Cells Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), that is, blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets, and contains growth factors which may elicit the gathering of stem cells around the damaged region stimulating cellular proliferation and tissue regeneration. PRP can be used to promote healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints and can be applied to various musculoskeletal problems. The process allows your own (autologous) stem cells to be re-introduced into/around areas of damage or chronic disease. As mentioned earlier, the extraction and transplantation of the stem cells are done on the same day in the United States. Bone marrow transplant has been the most widely used Stem Cell Therapy till date, but Adult Adipose-Derived (fat) Stem Cell Therapy is fast gaining popularity as fat harvesting is less invasive than bone marrow harvesting. You get more stem cells from fat than bone marrow, and fat stem cells are not age-dependent. Adult Stem Cell Therapy may hold answers to many questions and problems that we doctors believed had no solutions, especially neurological disorders. The therapy, with or without PRP, revitalizes and regenerates the body organs and systems; it also reverses and repairs many pending subclinical medical problems before they become apparent, including the diseases that are age-related. Generally, Adult Stem Cell Therapy is safe as shown by many published research reports and clinical trials. However, this does not guarantee that adverse effects can’t occur if the treatment is done by physicians that are not properly trained.
The therapy has helped a lot of people all over the world to regain their lives from debilitating ailments and Nigerians are not left behind. There are people in Nigeria that were either wheelchair bound and walking with occasional use of a cane before but now walking without one; diabetes patients are able to have restoration of vision in their eyes, and some feel and look younger. It has helped chronic kidney disease patients in Nigeria that are on hemodialysis to either reduce the frequency of hemodialysis per week or like a patient that was recommended to have kidney transplant a year ago but who is now off hemodialysis and off diabetic medications, and remains stable for the past months. Men with Erectile Dysfunction are now feeling like young men again. I cannot but mention that the type of treatment protocol and dosage of stem cells used also play a role in the efficacy of the treatment, and not everyone will respond in the same manner. Most of the patients, in studies, showed improvements after the first treatment, and the few that needed second treatment went on to see great results after more treatments were done; needless to say that they were elated with the results. The only group of patients that will always need more than a couple of transplantation sessions are patients with neurological disorders. Latest researches and evidence-based studies showed the number of treatment sessions needed to get significant clinical results can decrease by adding Exosomes to the treatment sessions.
In a recently publication in Germany, the new concept, developed around 2010 of how stem cells works, was reinforced where it stated that most of the effects of stem cells are through the Paracrine effects, delivered by the Exosomes. Exosomes are extracellular cell-derived vesicles that are present in almost all biological fluids. When secreted by stem cells, Exosomes are those tiny communication vesicles that interact with surrounding cells, thereby creating therapeutic activity. This is called the Paracrine effect. The Paracrine soluble factors (communication vesicles) have specialized functions and play a key role in intercellular signaling and in the following properties – immune modulatory, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, neurotrophic, angiotrophic, anti-apoptotic and anti-oxidatory. Stem cells also secrete other important proteins and cytokines that have healing properties.
There are some diseases that conventional treatments have no cure for, but Adult Stem Cell Therapy can reverse the symptoms of those diseases, repair and regenerate the damaged tissues or organs affected. In some cases, it significantly slows down the progression of the disorder. For example, it can regenerate the bony joints in arthritis, repair and strengthen partial rotator cuff tears and avascular necrosis of the hip without surgery, revitalize the sexual organs in men and women, regenerate renal cells in kidney diseases, modulate immune system without use of medications that have very serious side effects in conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Crohn’s disease, etc. Another advantage is its application in neurological disorders like ALS and spinal cord injury.
Adult Stem Cell Therapy can gradually lower diabetic medications dosage and eventually may get the patients off diabetic medications. This is evidenced by stem cells in a hyperglycemic medium differentiating into pancreatic cells; therefore leading to increased development of new blood vessels, secretion of various products of the immune system, and upregulation of pancreatic transcription factors and vascular growth factor. This aids the pancreas to regenerate and boost its ability to produce insulin. In stroke patients, stem cells activate cells around the suffering brain tissue to catalyze rapid healing and to improve brain function, thereby restoring motor function. Until recently, it was believed that damage to the brain tissue was permanent. This is being challenged by the evidences of re-growth of brain cells and improvements of neurological function documented with the use of Adult Stem Cells.
A procedure called P-Shot for Men uses the PRP Therapy to resolve challenges relating to Erectile Dysfunction by regenerating the damaged tissues. It gives treated men the possibility of saving their relationships by increasing stamina, enjoying bigger and harder genitals, and eventually increasing the length and girth. Orgasm-Shot for Women, the regenerative medicine procedure for women’s sexual function, leads to increased ability to have orgasm, better arousal from clitoris stimulation, decreased pain during intercourse, tighter vaginal opening, increased sexual desire and natural lubrication, and increased arousal from G-spot stimulation. In addition, because of the O-Shot rejuvenation capabilities, there is help available for women suffering from urinary stress incontinence without the need for invasive surgery.
Since the stem cells used are autologous, there is no risk of rejection of the stem cell transplant. Nevertheless, as with any procedure, there is a risk of infection which can be very minimal or non-existent if done under the right conditions. Adult Stem Cells Transplantation can also be considered by people looking for alternative treatments especially in the areas of diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, female and male sexual dysfunction, joint pain, neurological disorder and autoimmune disease. The cost of treatment varies, and it is not for everyone. However, you can’t place a price tag on life just as the saying goes that “health is wealth”.
- Ikudayisi is of Glory Wellness and Regenerative Centre –[email protected], 09090004532.