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Stem cell Therapy

Immune | July 22, 2020 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, parkinson's disease

Stem cell Therapy

Stem cell treatment in Australia is used for disorders of the blood and immune system, using haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This is stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood or bone marrow. Stem cells offer a potential advancement in research and disease management of many debilitating health concerns, such as diabetes, parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, spinal cord injuries and chronic pain. 

What are Stem cells?

Different cells form the body. In fact, more than 200 different specialized cells create the components of the body - such as muscle, nerve fibres, skin and fat. All these cells come from stem cells.

A Stem cells is a cell which is able to make copies of itself and differentiate. This means they can divide and produce cells which have the ability to become other, more specific cell types, tissues or organs, making them useful for repairing or replacing damaged and diseased cells in the body. Stem cells are an essential part of how the body grows, develops and repairs injury and ageing.

Stem cells are divided into two broad groups. Tissue specific stem cells (also known as adult or somatic stem cells) and pluripotent stem cells.

Tissue specific stem cells are found in adult tissue and can usually only become cells of that tissue. These are considered multipotent.

Pluripotent cells are able to divide indefinitely and can make every cell type in the entire body. Pluripotent stem cells include embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These stem cells are the ones which scientific studies are excited about.

  • Embryonic stem cells are derived from cells in the early growth stage (5 – 7 days) of embryo life. These are considered the highest standard of stem cells for the understanding and study of pluripotent cells.
  • iPS cells can become any type of cell in the body. They are adult skin cells that have had some genetic input which returns them back to an early form embryonic stem cell with the same behaviour. Adult cells which have been “reprogrammed”.

The benefits of Stem cells

Tissue-specific (adult) stem cells

The major role of this stem cell type is to maintain and repair the tissue from which they originate. They are capable of some self-regeneration but this is specific to the tissue or organ from which they are found. Adult stem cells have been identified in the brain, heart, eye, lungs, pancreas, liver, muscles and also in tissue of the body which is highly regenerative such as bone marrow, skin and the lining of the intestine.

It has been found that some adult stem cells are capable and ready for repair and regeneration (stem cells and blood) when needed after injury or disease, whilst other stem cells seem unable to respond. This is an area under research to help understand how the process works.

Pluripotent cells

The essential benefit of stem cells is their ability to transform into any cell type in the body and thus repair any damage. This makes them interesting to researchers in the search for help for medical conditions. Areas of research and potential uses include learning more about cells (cell biology), studying the development of diseases, testing new drugs and as potential replacement or repair of diseased tissue (stem cell therapy).

Ways stem cells are used

In Australia, stem cell therapy is approved in the treatment of blood and immune diseases, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, using bone marrow transplant.

Haematopoietic stem cells or HSCs - blood stem cells in bone morrow are used for bone marrow transplantation.

Mesenchymal stem cells or mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) come from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, the placenta and have also been identified in fat cells isolated by liposuction. MSCs have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties may be useful in the regeneration of bone, cartilage and fat.

Autologous stem cells describe those which have been removed and applied to the same person. In other words, the donor and the recipient are the same person. This offers a lesser chance of rejection and reaction from the immune system. However unproven autologous stem cell treatment can pose a risk to health from possible infection or growth of specialized cells in the wrong place in the body (ectopic tissue formation).

Direct donation. Baby’s cord blood obtained from pregnancy and used for a family member with a medical disorder.

Stem cell Research

Medical research into the use of stem cells for human health is still in its early stages with understanding the possible risks which may be associated.

Currently the only haematopoietic stem cell transplantation uses stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood or bone marrow in the treatment of blood and immune disorders.

Human foetal stem cell (obtained from donated tissue from termination of pregnancy).

These are multipotent so can only be used for tissue from which they are obtained – in this instance foetal brain tissue researched for its regeneration of spinal cord injury, stroke and neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease and Motor Neurone Disease. Foetal pancreatic cells are under research for the treatment of type I diabetes.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia regulates the use of human foetal tissue in research.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) can be used for regenerative purposes and also for the study of any disease. However, iPS cells have the potential to form tumors after transplantation. Thus the need for thorough evaluation before use in humans. 

What might we expect in the future?

Because iPS can become any cell type in the body it means diseases can be researched for new ways of repair and regeneration. For example:

Parkinson’s disease. In the future cell-based regenerative therapies may offer a treatment for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.

Diabetic retinopathy. This serious complication from diabetes is a cause of blindness in adults. Mesenchymal stem cells (adult stem cells), particularly those derived from adipose tissue and bone marrow, have been explored as a possible treatment for this condition, with positive outcomes suggesting stem cell therapy may be a contemplated in the future as a treatment.

What might we expect in the future?Chronic back pain. Researchers at the University of Sydney have had success using human stem cell to provide pain relief. Human stem cells used to make pain-killing neurons and applied to mice models were found to provide lasting pain relief in a single treatment – without side effects. Further safety testing is needed but trials on humans are expected in the next 5 years. If successful, this treatment offers an alternative to opioid and addictive pain management.

In fact, many disease, disorders and injuries may be helped through stem cell therapy and there are numerous clinical studies being performed for their use on humans. 

Clinical trials are necesary to test whether a proposed new therapy will be safe and effective on humans. 

Use of unproven stem cell treatments

Not all stem cell treatments have been proven to be safe and effective. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) can provide many answers to questions in regard to stem cell therapy in Australia.
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Controversal Stem cell research

Another area of concern is the controversy of stem cell research.This includes ethical concerns over the destruction of embryo’s obtained from fertility programmes where excess embryos are used. Less controversial is the use of a cloned human embryo which has been unfertilized. The use of iPS cells in research may relieve some of these concerns.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine

The tumourigenicity of iPS cells and their differentiated derivates

Chapter 9Stem Cell Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Adult Stem Cell Therapeutics in Diabetic Retinopathy

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