Stem cells offer great hope in treating the symptoms of degenerative diseases and conditions, where tissue regeneration is needed. Stem cells are the body's great changelings. They repair damaged tissue by becoming the new cells of the injured tissue. So while stem cells repair the damage of degenerative conditions or trauma, they should not be taken as cure, but they can greatly relieve symptoms. So where tissue regeneration is required, and there is no degenerative disease, a healing of patientís condition is the terminal point of treatment.
(Please note that all discussion of stem cells on these pages refer to adult autologous (self-donated) mesenchymal (MSC) or Stromal stem cells. IFP and embryonic stem cells have a high risk of tumor production in human adults and are not used by our practitioners in patients. Please note: Cancer within a year of treatment is the only contraindication.)
(Don't believe stem cells can happen with orthopedic injuries? Ask Alex Rodriguez, UFC President Dana White, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, and Terrell Owens.)
Degenerative diseases are broken down into four categories, orthopedic, cardiac, neurological and aging for the purposes of stem cell treatment in our clinic.
Stem cells offer the greatest hope to orthopedic patients, because they have their highest rate of success in these patients. Orthopedic patients often face the degenerative condition of osteoarthritis along with the loss of cartilage in the hip, knee, ankle (the highest success rate) and shoulder joints. Arthroplasty surgery of these joints often involves some level of joint replacement, particularly if the disease has progressed too far. Joint replacement surgery is often successful for an average life span of approximately 15 years, depending on the condition of the bones and joint and the skill of the surgeon. Usually, the deterioration of the bond between the joint and the artificial device is the cause for the artificial joint to fail; then a more costly and less successful revision surgery must be done. Stem cells offer the hope that the joint replacement surgery can be postponed or avoided entirely. Stems cells can repair the arthritic end of the bones and restore cartilage without surgery, which would remove the entire joint. Therefore, stem cell therapy should be considered before joint replacement.
Patients suffering needing heart valve repair and suffering from tissue necrosis as a result of an MI (myocardial infarction) have a good chance of seeing these tissues repaired, rather than undergoing extremely traumatic surgeries.
Patients suffering from neurological degenerative diseases such as Parkinsonís Disease, MS and ALS, can also be treated with these cells and there are clinical reports supporting success. There are many drugs, which can be used to treat these degenerative diseases. It is when these drugs are having no effect, that the patient should seek stem cell therapy. The success of stem cell therapy varies widely in these cases.
Aging is a degenerative disease that affects everyone. The loss of telomere pairs during cell division is thought to shorten the cells ability to successfully reproduce and reduce the ability of key cells to produce with fidelity key hormones for the bodyís functions. Indeed, according to Professor Leonard Hayflick, there is limit to all cell reproduction based on the number of telomeres on the DNA pair of the cell. It is known that telomere length is shorter in older people.
However, we know that certain cells, such as cancer cells, can divide endlessly. Why is this? Because cancer cells can produce telomerase, which can elongate the telomere chain. Indeed, injecting telomerase into a human can cause cancer. However, stem cells can repair the telomere pairs or, add new tissue to the body, forming new cells with an intact number of telomeres.