Stem cells are the body's raw materials cells from which all other cells with specific functions are produced. Stem-cell therapy means using the stem cells to treat or stop disease or condition. The most widely used stem cell treatment is called as hematopoietic or blood stem cell transplantation, like bone marrow transplantation which is done to treat blood and immune system ailments or to restore the blood system after treatments for certain types of cancer. The two main ways by which stem cells can be used are as follows:
1) Transplant: The chosen stem cells are collected either from the patient or a donor and cultured or modified in some way prior injecting or grafting into the patient.
2) A target for a drug or other biologic: Here the drug or biologic is planned to activate a required response from the stem cells that are present in the patient’s organs or tissues.
Any aspirin or aspirin-related medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be taken for 1 week prior to the therapy.
1-2 days prior to the procedure and also on the day of the patient’s injection, it is advised to drink 64 ounces of water per day.
The procedure starts with harvesting body’s own adult stem cells and growth factors from numerous sources. Fat-derived stem cells from the lower abdomen or bone marrow-derived cells from the iliac crest which contains a range of important cells or a peripheral vein where the blood is used to make Platelet-Rich Plasma are harvested. These three constituents are inserted directly into the affected area (joints such as shoulders, knees, hips, low or mid back) using live x-ray (fluoroscopic) or through ultrasound supervision.
The doctor will first clean and numbs by giving anaesthesia to the hip area. A needle is then inserted into an area of the pelvic bone which is called as the iliac crest. Bone marrow is then removed using an extraordinary syringe and the sample taken is sent to the laboratory. The doctor then cleans and numbs the patient’s affected area that needs treatment. Under the guidance of special X-rays, the doctor injects the stem cells into the affected region. The complete procedure normally takes less than one hour and the patient may return home on the same day
The patient receives high-dose chemotherapy to kill the cells in the bone marrow. Later, the patient gets fresh, healthy blood-forming stem cells.
Same procedure followed as a treatment for multiple myeloma.
Stem cell transplants are at times used to treat lymphoma patients who are in remission during or after treatment. The stem cells are frozen and stored while the person gets high-dose chemotherapy or radiation. Then through IV, it is given back into the patient’s blood.
Same procedure followed as a treatment for lymphoma.
Stem cells are taken from a healthy donor and transferred into the patient’s blood. The stem cells the move to the patients’ bone marrow where they grow and allow it to generate healthy blood cells.
The skin cells from a diabetes patient can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells that have the probability to make any cell type in the body, containing beta cells (cell types involved in diabetes), as well as the immune cells which attack and destroy beta cells in type 1 diabetes.
Injecting stem cells into the body with muscular dystrophy, the stem cells may produce working muscle fibres to substitute the patient’s damaged ones which help to gain muscle strength, can exercise for longer and generate normal muscle proteins.
The complete stem cell procedure will take 3-4 hours. Stem cell patients easily walk out on their own. They can normally return to work and daily activities within two days. They need to take it easy and should not do any load bearing activities for at least three weeks post procedure. They will need to abstain from taking NSAIDs for a while as this can affect the healing process of the body. Normally for a period of six to twelve months, many patients will have ongoing improvement, observing a reduction in inflammation, less pain and an increase in mobility and function.