About 15 years ago you might remember a storm around the idea of embryonic stem cells and the presidential election. During the debates, there lacked a distinction between utilizing our own body’s regenerative cells (Autologous Stem cells) Vs those from a fetus (Embryonic Stem cells) . This association is still a problem and many people don’t understand that there is a difference between embryonic stem cell research and Adult autologous stem cell research in general. In a recent article in the Journal of Translational Medicine, by Thomas Ichim of MediStem Inc., Neil H. Riordan of the Aiden Foundation and David F. Stroncek of The National Institute of Health’s Department of Transfusion Medicine, spoke to this misconception and the alternative found in adult stem cell research and therapy.
The interest in the field of embryonic research and therapy is fading. Embryonic stem cells have been found to have far less potential uses than originally anticipated. The alternative to embryonic stem cell research and therapy, which few people are aware of, is adult stem cell research. When the body experiences trauma like a stroke or a heart attack it draws on it’s own stem cells (adult stem cells) to repair the damage. Adult stem cell researchers at Mesoblast have released results that showed benefits of a clinical study showing the double-blind results of adult stem cells introduced to heart failure patients. Another argument for the use of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells is that while embryonic stem cell research and therapy is costly and time consuming, adult stem cell usage is far more affordable and far more promising with less potential for adverse reactions.
Every month numerous studies are emerging in new applications of adult stem cells for difficult diseases. Most of all current research is focused on utilizing our own adult cells to stimulate healing vs embryonic. It is important to stay on top of the current opinion regarding regenerative medicine & this article provides some insight that we may more likely see implication of adult stem cells vs embryonic derived cells in the near future.
However it’s important that this industry is monitored and regulated to insure safety & proven efficacy. The problem is that the industries that typically funds most of the trials that lead to widespread acceptance are not involved in adult stem cells due to lack of financial gain. In general it costs $800million dollars & up to 15yrs to bring an idea from bench to bedside. Only 1:10,000 products make it to market which is a costly endeavor.
Utilizing our own cells to heal may provide a means to accelerate the arduous process. Many translational research facilities are emerging to address this growing need. Currently, the burden is up to the clinician to document their work. Patients are driving this industry, seeking more solutions for their issue which are not improving with conservative care.
In the USA orthopedic doctors are utilizing adult regenerative cells from bone marrow (BMAC), fat (adipose fat grafts). In Mexico they are enhancing stem cell circulation via an injection, then draw whole blood from the arm & re-inject it to stimulate healing. More literature will emerge regarding this promising but new therapy.